Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Updates From Kitsap, MLS Update, and Our Society Today

I found a few other blog links from last night's match in Kitsap after the Timbers won 3 to nil over the Pumas. From what I've been reading, the TA that made the trip were appreciative of the professional approach the Pumas organization runs up there, and there were Pumas players and front office employees that thanked the TA for making the trip and providing such a good atmosphere. That's us, the Timbers Army, we travel quite a bit. Well, unless you have a job that keeps you close to your desk at points, so I appreciated the Front Office providing Twitter updates to those of us back in the Rose City. - From Prostamerika, it provides a very balanced update about the match, and the fact that really Kitsap kept things close until late in the match. - Match report from the Kitsap Sun, the local Bremerton newspaper.
I've also been reading some of the entries on the SCUSA board, and some of the chants and stories are great. "You may be a Puma, but your mother is a cougar!!" I love road trips, it brings folks together and there's a lot of creativity and community in traveling to foreign soil and root for your club in someone else's house. I'll briefly post something tomorrow about the team's next road match in Carolina tomorrow. Apparently, most of the team made the trip down south, except for McManus the destroyer, who sustained a pretty good shoulder nick in last night's match from contact. Hope that he's back soon, along with Ryan Pore, who apparently has a strained knee, not torn as originally reported, so he could be back sooner than expected.
MLS Updates -
One of the Oregonian's columnists, Anna Griffin, asks the question today "If you build in Lents Park, will you come?" and talks about the development issues in the area. I've been very impressed with some of the news I've heard from the residents there, who take a great deal of pride in their area, and only want the best for their neighborhood. Some of them are taking a very measured approach to the ball park idea, and I think that's good:
We've gotten away from thoughtful discourse or building consensus in a lot of ways, as our society is very fragmented in many of their approaches, and the stadium deal is a good window into that world.
You have the haters, who simply don't like any sort of public involvement in projects like this, thinking that private enterprise should pay for it themselves. Even if the facility is city owned, or if a good idea that could benefit the city comes along, there's no way you could convince them this was a good idea. I get the impression that these are the same folks that don't want government making what they perceive as dumb laws or excessive taxation, but they simply want to be left to their own devices.
And while there's a simplicity of spirit there that is admirable, I simply don't trust people to have the same ethical sense of things, which is why government must be involved in a lot of things, simply because of their size, scale and reach. We can't leave health care, roads, schools or infrastructure to just be figured out piece meal, which is why things must operate in a grand plan and be coordinated. You can't just leave things to the whim.
But at the same time, you can't be so focused in the one small part of the world that is within your realm that you can't see beyond the bigger picture. I get that this is a ton of money to spend on something that may or may not work, but the pieces are in place to give this a very good shot of working. As crazy as it sounds, it's important to have faith in the process. I realize that's easier said than done when repeatedly, elected officials seem to do things that hurt the trust they've built up. I can't imagine the spotlight they have to operate under, knowing that anytime, anywhere, you have constituents asking you questions or wanting to talk about an issue. It's credit to them for even wanting to take on this in times where opinions come flying at you in different directions and various forms.
And our society seems to thrive on two distinct but dangerous tenants - the need to label and the need to litigate. In order to understand, you have to put a label on something or someone, because it's not nearly possible to really understand a situation or person. We could spend time and hours talking about the American Idols from this year, but not know who our neighborhood association or elected officials are, except for the small snippets of information you might here in the news. I get that we need diversions and hobbies, but my point is that everyone needs to step up and be part of the process of their city, in some form. It's in that way that you can begin to understand that we are all part of a bigger picture and bigger collective, and while it's great to keep your own thing in order, by doing that, it helps the larger picture which in turn moves up the chain. It's important not just to think of yourself and your block, but the person across town, or the person in the suburbs and inspire them to act by acting in your own way.
I'm not expecting a radical change over night, as a matter of fact, I expect that a lot of people will go back to their own worlds, texting while driving even though it's incredibly dangerous, obsessing about celebrities that honestly are famous for nothing more than being on TV, and people suing teams for some unknown reason to make a point:
If it sounds like rambling, it's really frustration at what I see today. People don't care about anything more than what matters to them, and it seems like a lot of the people involved in the processes only care about proving their results to be right, or suing to make sure their point is right. It's not about making things better or helping the future, it's simply about getting something out of it, whether it's motivated by fear, misinformation or the desire to have a floppy hat for free. This is my first experience in being on the ground level of a public process, and while I'm amazed at the complexities going on and am impressed with some of the hard work by many people, I'm frustrated that people who don't care or don't want to understand what good this could do could derail the process for simply nothing more that proving they are right and everyone else is wrong.
The problem with that mentality is that it reinforces the notion that somebody has to lose in order for somebody else to win, and what consensus does is ensure that everyone wins to an extent. It may not be a huge win, but accentuating the benefits and allowing a lot of groups to feel good about an outcome is an important part of any process, and I think we are missing that lately. I agree, it's a lot of hard work to make it happen, but at the same time, the results can be something we can all live with for years to come.

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