Basketball, politics and snow. Ah, what a month.
March is the time of year to place your sawbuck on the betting board based on your best scientific wild-ass guess as to the winner of the NCAA tourney. This should be the essay where I prognosticate the winners of the April 2 Columbia and Boone County municipal elections. Of course, on Feb. 2 Punxsutawney Phil and his brethren around the United States made their predictions of the coming of spring, which began March 20.
The connection? Making choices, the keeping of friends and predictions.
Usually, I do not follow “The Dance” until the “Final Four” are on the basketball court or when an underdog blows out the top-ranked team. Sometimes I have not heard of the college or did not think it had a team, such as Harvard basketball. Who knew? The first time I heard of Gonzaga University, I thought the announcer erred and wanted to say “Gorilla University.” Go coach Jane Goodall and Koko!
I do have collegiate loyalties to be honored, and this year was most difficult for me. I taught at the University of Colorado and have colleagues at Colorado State. I graduated from St. Louis University and, of course, live in Tiger Country. With such split allegiances, my extreme lack of basketball knowledge and past failed choices, the 10-spots stayed in my pocket. Good thing, Gonzaga is out of the game, as are my own loyalty picks.
It’s the same problem with this year’s mayoral and the City Council elections — who to pick. I know most of the candidates and my fidelities are again split. In the world of politics, one cannot take criticism or endorsements personally, but my support falls into the same category as which basketball team to support — a split. And as in basketball, candidate selections over the last few elections have not been that successful.
I do support Boone County Proposition #1, asking for a sales tax increase to support a new 911 center. I had the opportunity to visit the center twice and had emergency calls put on hold for longer than 30 seconds. I know Joint Communications is badly understaffed and the equipment is outdated.
I also understand the arguments concerning sales taxes — they are regressive and touch the lower economic ranks more severely. However, emergency and safety services are not limited to those who own property or the wealthy. The need for the new center is universal.
Support for Columbia’s Proposition 1 should be a no-brainer. Councilwoman Barbara Hoppe’s proposal is to deny the condemnation and use of eminent domain to transfer property from the city to any private for-profit enterprise. This is a good thing and gets my “yea” vote.
Now to a more serious problem — the continuation of winter’s whirling winds and whale drifts of white. To the cheers of an excited Pennsylvania gathering, the Rasputinesque rodent saw no shadow, and we all put away our winter coats. But alas, Phil was wrong. Outside is a winter wonderland.
Now, Ohio’s Butler County prosecuting attorney, Michael Gmoser, is calling for Phil’s arrest and the death penalty for his faulty futuristic forecast of warmer weather.
Why? Mr. Gmoser told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the vermin is behind bars anyway, so why not.
It’s not all bad. Mid-Missouri needs the snow and rain and the bug kill-off, and I found a number for recipes for groundhog.
I will be voting Tuesday, as will you, and “The Dance” will be over April 8. Our choices will be recorded, counted and the final tallies announced at rallies and parties. There will be winners and losers, and no one will take their loss personally. I hope.
As for Phil, I am calling on Boone County Prosecuting Attorney Daniel K. Knight to write Mr. Gmoser to request clemency for the Soothsayer of the Forest and the dropping of all charges.
Most of us have already failed our own NCAA selections, or will vote for “the guy who did not win” Tuesday, and it’s still snowing. This treble of tragedies may cause hardship to individual egos, but don’t blame me. I stayed out of the prediction business this year.