Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Real Lombardi Time

Anyone who knows me knows that my number one pet peeve is when people are late.  To me, there is no greater sign of disrespect that you can show by failing to show up on time for an appointment or a deadline.  In effect you are saying to the offended party "I don't consider your time to be nearly as valuable as mine."

That is why I am perpetually early.  It always makes my wife uncomfortable when we are the first to arrive for parties or other social events.  And it is why that when someone else makes me late for something, I spend the first few minutes after arriving profusely apologizing to the host (and of course, throwing the tardy party under the bus).

So that is why I find the hubbub over the discovery of the "Lombardi Time" clock at Lambeau Field so humorous.  In case you missed it, Michelle Tafoya of NBC "broke" the story that the new clock above the Oneida Nation Gate is intentionally set 15-minutes fast.  It is done as a "tribute" to Vince Lombardi--who demanded that his players always be 15-minutes early for meetings, bus rides and practices.  Tafoya even related the story of a rookie who showed up 7 minutes before a team meeting--and was informed that he was 8-minutes "late".

While the story is cute, the "Lombardi Time" clock actually misses the point.  You see, "Lombardi Time" isn't about what the face of the time piece says.  (It's not like Vince ordered all of the clocks at the team offices to be kept 15-minutes fast).  "Lombardi Time" is about a mindset: "I know what time I need to be there--but I am going to be early anyway because this is something that is important--and I want to be prepared."

I know plenty of people who keep their clocks fast--and yet they are never early for anything.  That is because they know that the clock is fast and that they aren't actually "late".  So what is the point of keeping the clock fast? 

We've had employees here at the Radio Ranch who have lived five minutes away from the studio--and yet they were five to eight minutes late EVERY DAY.  And every day they had an excuse:  I overslept, my errands took longer than expected, I couldn't get my hair to do anything today--all met with the same "I don't care" expression on my face.  Some places even "reward" tardiness--giving workers credit for a full 15-minutes so long as they punch in at least seven minutes after the top of the hour--and believe me, there are plenty of people who take advantage of that break.

The ultimate irony about the "Lombardi Time" clock is that it was set that way back in August--but few people noticed until this week.  That's probably because nobody really cares what time it is--and that they certainly didn't worry that they might be running late.

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