August 07, 2008


It’s interesting to see the various reactions about the now well known compiling error that the PPBSO made with the Grade 4 Final competition at Maxville last Saturday. Fortunately, mistakes like these are very rare, and happen to even the best organizations, including the RSPBA and the 2003 Grade 1 result at the World Pipe Championships, no less.

Stuff happens. If stuff happens a lot, then there is cause for concern. If stuff like this happens rarely – and only then on a chaotic afternoon of rain-drenched nerves, electrifying competition (pun intended) and scoresheets that were like wet bogroll – then people should be forgiven.

Everything can be improved. That’s what we humans try to do. And things do improve. Lessons have been learned from this and other mistakes, apologies have been made, and everyone has I hope taken a collective deep breath. The correct result has been made, and affected bands I think have each moved on, looking forward to their next outing or season.

Given the lightning storm on the day that bands voluntarily played through, perhaps it’s a good time to put into perspective the true gravity of mistakes.


  1. Well put Andrew. That was definitely the craziest Maxville/Montreal I have ever been too. Kudos to the PPBSO for getting the contest finished! As for the mistakes, they happen all the time. It is part of life.

  2. If I’m not mistaken Andrew, you were involved with the Grade 4 Judging! Not sure if that I were involved with a scandal like that, I would be making a comment on it. But seeing as you opened the flood gates…here I go! If it were a one off, then yes, I would agree that mistakes happen. However, the PPBSO are always making mistakes when giving results. For example, last year they announced the wrong Professional Piper of the Day for Maxville, they annouced the wrong top 5 for Chatam Grade 4 this year, thsee are two I’m aware of. But honestly, that aside, is not the biggest wrong doing. My heart goes out to the Rob Roy Band, and the youngsters in the band. Imagine being announced as “North American” Champions, only to find out less than 24 hours later, the PPBSO messed up. And what….because of rain? Please….the bands played in the rain, and if the Administraion, in there dry Office, can’t add things up right, I’m sorry, no rain or monsoon can account for that. To make things worse, the PPBSO at Montreal tries to announce the winners at the Beer tent, where they didn’t have a PA system. So Bands were pulled back onto the field to have the announcements made. After the announcements were made, the PPBSO tells the bands they can all dismiss. This is before the winning bands get to play off. The kicker……Rob Roy wins Grade 4, yet the Grade 5 winner plays off before them. Rob Roy is the last band to play off the field. One band stood there, soaking wet, giving them there deserved applause. So rather than saying to err is human, perhaps look at the lasting effect, this absolute disgrace will have on the young players with in Rob Roy. As if my math serves me correct, there were 23 bands in Grade 4, and 6 bands in Grade 1. Yet Pipesdrums doesn’t care about that! People might wonder why youngsters quit Piping….look no further than the PPBSO!

  3. Not Dumb — I was judging the Grade 4 final but have nothing to do with the compilation of results. Even if I did, what’s wrong with commenting on it? You seem to be very bent out of shape about the situation. I hope you step up and volunteer to get involved to make things better, if you’re not already.

  4. Not Dumb – Don’t be dumb. The players in the Rob Roy band will no doubt be disappointed, but I’d hardly go so far as to imply that their spirits will be so ineffably crushed and withered that their young players will simply throw their pipes into a wood chipper and be done with it all for good. In a bubbly fit of optimism, I would be inclined to think that the fleeting taste of victory, however mistaken, experienced by Rob Roy could (and should) be used as a motivator for next year. What could possibly make a young, ambitious piper want to win more than having victory ripped from his or her grasp?
    Now, I’m not defending the PPBSO, and I do agree that this particular blunder should be cause for some questions, I just don’t think that anyone would quit piping because of it, or for that matter anything like it. Perhaps if the PPBSO were to accidentally send the band a letter calling all of their members nasty names, and revoking their memberships, and expelling them from all future competitions, and then accidentally pour sugar into the fuel tank of their bus, and then accidentally publish their naked baby pictures on the PPBSO website, and then accidentally kidnap all of their pets, maybe then some members would find reason to question their involvement in the piping world.
    However that’s not the case.
    It was a mistake and everyone understands that.

  5. Yes okay, maybe they won’t throw there Pipes into the wood chipper, but thats only one point. The thing I disagree with, is saying that this is only “a mistake!” I have seen first hand, the PPBSO make mistakes. I can recall for two this year. In my mind its not just an oops. Its an every game occurance with the PPBSO.

  6. I (partly) agree with “not dumb”… Granted, mistakes happen. But, if we ever expect our art to be taken seriously, WE have to take it seriously first !
    We should be able to expect accuracy when dealing with an event as big as the North American Championships. I know that these events rely on volunteers, but I have to point out that I volunteered to tabulate the results on my blackberry with a quick excel program I made on the spot, and was told my services were not required. (the correct results could have been made much faster than the 3 day wait we were given)

    My advice is that all results at any major competition be tabulated by an outside orgainzation (such as KPMG)
    It seems (to me anyway, after too many examples to mention) that the executive and administration of the PPBSO is a bit of an “old boys club” and outsiders are not welcome !

  7. As the Leading Drummer of the Rob Roy Pipe Band, I can tell you that the most difficult thing to do, was stand in front of our kids and tell them that they hadn’t won the big prize. However, mistakes do happen and we have to move on. I think it shows incredible character for the teenagers of Rob Roy to go on to Montreal and have such a great play in another rainstorm. Big thanks to the Ottawa Police band who stood there and supported us as we marched off the field in Montreal. We’ll learn from this and move forward.

  8. A bit of modern technology could help here. With the advances in computer technology, surely some of the compilation errors could be eliminated in addition to allowing results being made available sooner.

    Let’s give our hard working volunteers the equipment and/or training required to make their tasks easier to complete.

  9. Chris,

    I tip my hat to you, and all of you at Rob Roy! Your response here has shown what a class act you and your band are. With leaders like yourself, it is easy to see why Rob Roy has produced so many great players! I wish you the best of luck with the band in the future.



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