"Rome Wasn't Built in a Day" & "Something Is NOT Just Rotten in the State of Denmark"

Richard Hunkler, PhD.
Water Polo Planet
09/15/07

Oh no, not the old "Rome was not built in a day" speech. In my mind this speech and more is needed for those in the water polo community who start to believe that certain members of the USAWP staff should be fired because 1) the Junior World Championship (JWC) was not run in the manner they thought it should be run, 2) the staff members have not caused a star in the east to appear for our organization, a new miracle organization, and 3) we did not kiss the FINA representatives’ and referees' you know what at the JWC. The first two issues will be addressed under the umbrella, "Rome wasn't built in a day" while the third explosive and controversial topic will be discussed from the stand point that Shakespeare's Denmark is not the only place that smells like three day old, dead fish.

Rome Wasn't Built in a Day or a Week or a Month or Even in a Year!

Some of the people on the WPP message board sounded similar to the Alice in Wonderland, Queen of Hearts who when she didn't get her way she started yelling something like, "Off with their ideas or off with their plans!" People who used the Junior World Championship as a litmus test to the qualifications of the USAWP staff and Board of Directors (BoD) are not only disingenuous but are downright ignorant of what the staff and BoD has done or can do. This staff inherited this political bomb shell form a small group of people who had created a humongous debt for our organization and who, it appeared, also thought that such a political move as hosting the JWC would put us in good stead with the powers that be, the powers that could grease our way to the Holy Grail, an Olympic gold medal.

The current staff did the best they could under the restraints of a short time period and a small budget and mind set. The only thing I thought they could have done better was 1) not rely on our TWPC representative for most of their protocol information and 2) seek more advice from USAWP members, past and present, who had attended many similar events. There is an old saying that I made up just for this article that goes, “When you think you know it all is when you don't."

Thinking that they could have done much better with such time and monetary restraints is similar to believing the rants and rages of a disgruntle person who didn't get to advertise in a particular water polo magazine and who didn't get to show his wares at the place of his choosing at the JWC. Moreover, this person is not the true voice of the company he represents. 

Installing a new group of officers in an organization is not near as difficult as installing a new way of thinking, a new way of doing business, and a new way getting things done. In addition to the new business plan you have to hire a new CEO who in turn has to hire and train a staff to do these things. Combine this with the knowledge that there a number of people in the organization that are hoping that the new organization will fall flat on its face, so that the USAWP will go back to the same old, same old, good on boys' club of favoritism and patronage.

Are mistakes going to be made? You damn well better believe they’re going to be made. If the staff and BoD learn from their mistakes and don’t make the same mistakes over and over again then we will end up with an organization that is a boon and not a bust to the growth and prestige of our sport. This plan can create a water polo organization that every person can sing “… this land is your land, this land is my land, from California to the New York Island, to the Redwood forest to the Gulf stream waters …". It will not only become an organization of which you will be proud, but an organization in which you will be willing to donate both your time and money.

What is the receipt to creating such an organization? At a minimum the staff and BoD have to become more transparent and they have to listen to the membership more. There is old saying my Dad taught me and it is, "Just because a person listens doesn't necessarily means the person hears." The way to judge if the staff and BoD are doing these things is not by listening to what they say but rather by watching what they do!  Consequently, it is going to be the task of the members of the USAWP to make more suggestions, to be more observant, and, above all, to be more patience.

In the Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, it defines patience as. "The ability to endure waiting, delay, or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset or to persevere calmly when faced with difficulties." Patience plays an important role in several fields of study and in the entertainment industry as well. Examples of “patience” as personified by the saying, “Rome was not built in a day” in Entertainment follow:

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. used the proverb, "Rome was not built in a day", in his famous novel Cat's Cradle, he wasn't the first to use it and he won't be the last.

This saying is so famous that Sam Cook, the rock and roll singer of the 1950's, wrote a song about it: "I'm gonna make your love as strong as mine/But I know Rome wasn't built in a day."

And Amy Grant a contemporary singer used it, "It takes a little time sometimes, to get your feet back on the ground...it may not be over by morning, but Rome wasn't built in a day...give it, give it time."

The chorus in Morcheeba's song, "Rome Wasn't Built in a Day", is 

'Cause you and me we're meant to be
Walking free in harmony
One fine day we'll fly away
Don't you know that Rome wasn't built in a day?

Thus, why can't "patience" play an important role in water polo as well? Let us give the USAWP staff and BoD more time to implement the business plan we the members so overwhelming voted to have.

If Something Were Rotten in Water Polo Then It Would Stink Like Three Day Old Dead Fish Around the World!

A big deal on the WPP message board was made about how the staff and the BoD didn't follow FINA protocol and how this boo-boo or mistake would hurt our chances of winning a medal in the Olympics. Are we really suppose to believe that if we don't wine and dine the FINA representatives and referees then they will do their damnest to cheat us at the next Olympics. If this statement is true then "Something Is NOT Just Rotten in the State of Denmark!" Something is rotten in the way International Water Polo is managed and we, the International community, need to stop it in its tracks because I don't care how cultures differ in the different countries, "Cheating by any other name is still cheating" and it has no place in an Olympic sport.

Call me naive if you want because I choose to believe that the FINA representatives and referees are NOT going to cheat us in the 2008 Olympics. Most people I know in water polo are good people and good people don't cheat one another. Besides if the USA were to drop water polo because they were being cheated by other countries then I believe the International Olympic Committee would drop water polo from the Olympics in a New York minute. People in the International water polo scene are many things but they are not stupid.

(I let one of the Board of Directors, Lynn Kachmarik, read this article before it was posted and here are her comments concerning the article and the Junior World Championship (JWC): The posts on the WPP message board and your article, in a minor way, makes it sound as if the JWC were a failure. The truth is that the JWC was a huge success. On a tight budget and in the midst of change the event drew more fans than the last three JWC’s combined and we had 50% more in attendance than we had projected. Also every game started on time and there were no complaints, no delays, and no protests. In the end, some mistakes were made early on; however, the staff of USAWP worked hard and quickly to move forward in a positive manner. Before the championships ended, FINA, TWPC and the USAWP staff were toasting each other in friendship. I again want to thank the entire staff at USAWP and all the volunteers who worked tirelessly and endlessly to pull off the best JWC in our history.)

Email Coach Hunkler at rhunkler@waterpoloplanet.com