Monday, December 03, 2007

Ten Things I'd Do If I Were King For A Day

Before we get started, a quick update on Mike Stinson. For those who didn't hear Sunday at church, Mike Stinson (who was the youth director at SUMC during the last school year) suffered a series of strokes while at a conference in Washington D.C. on November 23rd. He has been hospitalized at George Washington University Hospital in their ICU ever since. I just got off the phone with his sister, Deborah, so here's the latest update. Mike is still unconscious and hooked up to a respirator as the neurological damage from the stroke has rendered the muscles in his trachea useless (something the doctor thinks is temporary) . He has fluid draining from around his heart (for reasons not fully understood by the doctors) and has contracted MRSA, the "super bug" which hospitals are struggling to combat all over the country. He remains paralyzed on both sides of his body, but has been able to more his one hand, and fingers on his other hand (so that's promising). While the situation is very serious, he is in stable condition, and the doctor is seeing sings of progress each day. They do believe, over time and with rehab, that Mike will regain much of the function he's lost. But it'll be a very long road, and the situation currently is still very delicate. The family is asking everyone to please pray for Mike and his recovery, and we'll remain in contact with them via email. We'll keep everyone up to date as we receive new news, and if an opportunity for us to do something tangible to assist Mike arises, we'll do so.

The BCS Championship Game has inspired this new twist on "Ten Things I Think I Think".

1) Let the moaning and complaining begin! Already this morning I've read two articles in our own hometown newspaper that disparage the Bucks birth in the BCS Championship Game. How any of the other teams, save Hawaii, would be more deserving with two losses each is beyond me, but the principle gripe people have regarding the Big Ten is that they don't have enough teams for a Championship Game of their own...

which got me to thinking, if I were King for a Day, which twelfth team would I add to Big Ten.

First, I had to eliminate some schools that geographically make sense. This includes WVU, Pitt, and Syracuse (all schools that would fit in well as research institutions with large student bodies, Pitt making the most geographical sense of the three and Syracuse being a great option cause it extends the Big Ten into the New York market) because there's no way right now they leave the Big East (for both competitive and historical reasons). Think how many years it's taken (more than ten) for the fans at Penn State to get excited about games with Big Ten foes, as opposed to their old "Beast of the East" rivals? For example, I can't see fans in Morgantown feeling annual games against Iowa and Minnesota for some time, so we'll throw these guys out as options.

Second, I had to eliminate schools that make sense in terms of TV markets, like the University of Detroit and Cleveland State (the two largest markets in the Midwest the Big Ten does not yet own). Both schools are largely commuter schools with little athletic history, so we've got to let them go.

Third, I threw out the wild-cards like Miami (will never leave the ACC), Nebraska (I just don't think it gets you all that much except a long drive for the fencing team), South Florida (sounds crazy, right? Well, ask any coach in the Big Ten if they'd like to have a school in Florida and see what they'd say), and Texas (once again, another school the Big Ten flirted with when the SWC feel apart). If the door was open at one time with some of these schools, it's closed now.

So, that narrowed it down to three choices:

3. The University of Toledo: Right now Brother Esq is slapping his head with laughter. UT? Are you for real? Let me tell you, twenty years ago UT was a commuter school with one of the ugliest campuses you'd ever seen. When I visited it as a high school senior in 1987, it had exactly one tired looking residence hall on campus. But now, after 20 years of continued growth, campus development, and the addition of a medical school (to a law school and pharmacy school), UT becomes increasingly viable. It's fans are rabid. Geographically it would immediately become rivals with Michigan and Ohio State. And as far as TV markets go, it's better than Bloomington or Madison. Keep an eye on Toledo... it's led by ambitious people who want to raise the schools profile nationally.

2. The University of Cincinnati: Really, this school makes the most sense. UC football has never captured the fancy of Cinci, but this would change all of that. There's more than enough talent in the city, Kentucky, and Southern Ohio to make this team competitive, and the Big Ten would own a huge television market that right now is ripe for the taking. Besides, Michigan (UofM and MState), Indiana (Purdue and IU), Illinois (Northwestern and UofI) all have two schools in the Big Ten. Ohio has a larger population than any of those states, and could more than sustain fan followings for two schools.

1. Notre Dame: But if I were King for a Day, the school I'd add to the Big Ten is ND. Why they can't make a deal so that ND keeps their football TV money, and allows every Big Ten team the chance to play 4 non-conference games (you'd play eight in-conference, five out, and then have a championship game) is beyond me. Then you could have two Big Ten divisions (ND, Michigan, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Northwestern in one, Ohio State, Iowa, Purdue, Indiana, Illinois, and Penn State in the other), you could include an end of season "rivalry week" game (to preserve the OSU/UofM game). Then the Big Ten gets featured in a national game on NBC each week also. It just makes sense.

2) If I were King for a Day any business that put up any Christmas decorations or played Christmas music before the day after Thanksgiving would be assessed an additional "Christmas Sales Tax" of 10%. Bah Humbug.

3) If I were King for a Day I'd believe that this would be end of Hugo Chavez's attempt to make himself President for Life in Venezuela (but I get the sense that maybe it isn't).

4) If I were King for a day I'd take down the high walls we've erected in terms of young clergy getting ordained in the UMC by establishing a six year process (pending you already have a Bachelor's degree). To do this, I'd 1) shorten the conference process to three years (year one, you are approved at the local church and district level while completing course work, year two
you continue course work/field ed, and year three you are approved by the conference), 2) eliminate the requirement of a full MDiv for all and a Bachelor's degree for anyone over 35 (we could work with seminaries to come up with an adequate course of study while giving the candidate the option to finish the full degree if they so desired), and 3) establish through existing congregations second site ministries/new church starts/associate positions a slew of desirable appointments for people under the age of 35 (positions would be financed by lowering apportionments for churches who employ these pastors, or establish new congregations) in areas of the WOC that are desirable for young people to live (Cinci, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo) .

5) If I were King for a day I'd get the people from Husky Oil (who own the local refinery), Global Energy (who have been trying to build an electric plant in Lima for the last nine years), corporations interested microfiber technology (who use the byproducts from coal-gasification to make carbon microfibers which will revolutionize pretty much every industry out there cause carbon products are lighter and stronger than metal products), and a bunch of venture capitalists (who like making money) in the same room to see if this coal-gasification electric plant/microfiber industrial park proposed for Lima could get done. Seems like a lot people could make a lot of money together here, while bringing plenty of good jobs to the city of Lima. I mean if venture capitalists are willing to buy Chrysler and Dana, why in the world wouldn't they want to get in on the ground floor of something like this? I'm thinking a meeting catered by the Bistro at the Civic Center.

6) If I were King for a day I'd take Thomas Friedman's suggestion, and make federal money available to create the new "moonshot" of the 21st century: establishing a viable form of alternative energy. If you remember your history, after the Russians beat us into space, Kennedy freed up serious federal dollars to improve education programs for science and math, as well as funding for all kinds of research so that we could beat the Commies to the moon. The benefits of this push cannot be understated. Everything from computer technology and microchips to the creation of Tang were realized thanks to this investment. Friedman makes the suggestion of doing the same thing in the 21st century, only replacing walking on the moon with finding a new viable alternative energy source. Who knows what could be discovered if over the next twenty years we equipped the best and brightest from every corner of this country to find a solution to this problem. And think of the competitive advantage the US would have in the global economy of we could get on the other side of this first? Heck of an idea I'd throw my kingly weight behind.

7) Speaking of kingly weight, if I were King for a Day I'd make it a law that I'd have to exercise every day or face some kind of torture. Immanent bodily pain would do the trick (cause long-term prospect of bodily pain hasn't, thus far).

8) If I were King for a Day I'd arrange it so that for seven hours of that day, I'd meet an hour each with NT Wright (biblical scholar), Paul Farmer (physician), Bono (front man turned global activist), Jim Wallis (theologian and author), Hubie Brown (former NBA coach... the guy is a walking history of the NBA), Jim Collins (the "Good to Great" guy), and Ashish Nanda (professor at Harvard Business School). I'd probably also eat dinner with the Bill Simmons (ESPN's Sports Guy).

9) If I were King for a Day the boys would get a Nintendo Wii for Christmas. Maybe that could still happen.... who knows.

10) And finally, if I were King for a Day, I'd repost this YouTube Christmas video that was posted a year ago today, and marvel at how big the boys are getting (who says dreams don't come true).


Aimee said...

I could probably arrange something for #7.....

Anonymous said...

Ok, that's it. You've cracked up. Toledo in the Big Ten?
-- Average attendance in 2006: 18,000. Northwestern averages over 24,000 for goodness sakes. Rabid? Hardly.
-- 2007 is going to barely crack 15k due to the ongoing scandals involving mob activity (point shaving etc) as well as poor performance.
-- Instant rivalry with Mich and OSU. In what way? Toledo was smoked by sub-par BG and Buffalo squads and completely dismantled by the Big Ten pretender - Purdue.
-- Toledo is a hole. They exist only to make Cleveland feel better about itself.
-- Toledo TV Market is 70th in the country. Bloomington rolls up to the 25th market (Indy). Madison is smaller (85th) but considering the lack of competition, it hardly matters given that they are shown all over the state of WI.

UC is not a bad thought. They probably fit your Toledo criteria more effectively - plus after having lived there, they have a strange coolness to to OSU which could become a nice in-state rivalry. ND would be interesting for the TV money and history. But, three Big 10 schools in Indiana is hard to fathom.

bryan said...

UT's attendance has been better than 18k in the years they've been really good AND the MAC was good (Marshall's heyday). Besides if they got Purdue, OSU, MState, UofM, Penn State, Iowa, and Wisconsin, an Illinois on their home schedule on a regular basis, you can bet they'd not only sell out but would need to enlarge that stadium.

And it's true... the city of Cincinnati has more love for UK than OSU. It's very unsettling.

But ND isn't really an Indiana school. It's following is national (or some ND alums would say universal as they claim God is the Irish biggest fan). Having lived in Northern Indiana for five years I can assure you that ND's following has no parallel in college sports. It is truly amazing.