The Duncan Banner

September 15, 2013

No column ideas this week

Ed Darling
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN — The sound is a haunting one.  Tick, tick, tick… It is the pressurized noise from a nearby clock, signaling time is running out and the deadline for this week’s column is near. But there is a problem. No ideas. Few topics.

I could tell you I’m disturbed by the Sports Illustrated series on corruption within the Oklahoma State football program, but I’d rather tell you I’m more concerned greed is ultimately going to kill the game so many of us love.

Schools, my little minority voice says, should give the game back to the students, alumni and fans instead of letting television and big business rule the sport. Paying ridiculous salaries, building multi-million dollar training facilities for prestige, expanding stadium sizes, charging excessive amounts of money for the opportunity to purchase tickets and even more to buy tickets, altering schedules and causing travel chaos in exchange for prime TV exposure, encouraging multiple-night motel reservations at exorbitant costs and gouging fans for concession items shows our educational priorities are out of order.

That few schools break even financially is more than a hint.

That many schools seem to have issues with recruiting, rules, ethics and integrity is a sign that suggests lack of control.  And essentially, you can make the argument college athletics is a microcosm of our country in that everyone recognizes problems, but no one seems willing or capable to make the truly difficult decisions.

I could tell you conservative Tony Abbott won a bitterly contested race for prime minister in Australia, defeating incumbent Kevin Rudd, but I’d rather tell you the country is one of 10 that enforce compulsory voting.

Mauro Kolobaric, the consul general who visited Duncan last week, mentioned that casually in a conversation, explaining a number of Australians were visiting the embassy in Washington to cast their ballots.

Compulsory voting in federal elections was first introduced there in 1924 and is a civic responsibility comparable to taxation, education and jury duty. It also enables candidates to focus their efforts on issues rather than encouraging voters to participate in the process.

Voters who don’t participate must provide a reason for their failure to vote or pay a $20 penalty. If the apparent non-voter fails to reply within 21 days, prosecution proceedings begin with a fine of up to $170 and court costs.

Maybe that’s something we should consider.

I could tell you I’m looking forward to Thursday night’s Rotary Shrimp Boil at The Lindley House, but I would probably also need to tell you a tour of the bed-and-breakfast destination stop, conducted by former Judge George Lindley, who grew up there, may be as interesting as the shrimp are tasty.

I could tell you lots of people are in debt because they spend what their friends think they make, but you might properly say that’s none of my business.

I could tell you how disappointing it was to learn ACT scores for Duncan students dropped below the state average, but I’ve never understood why our goal is “average” anyway.

We’ve never strived to be average in anything else and the logic that getting more kids to take the test will improve our scores seems odd since you’d assume our best students are the ones already taking it.

I could tell you how nice it is to have people in Duncan putting together well-intentioned events for the good of our citizens, but I’d rather share developing details that the Freedom Biker Church is planning a Jericho Ride through the streets of our city Sept. 29 to be followed by a 6 p.m. community worship service in Halliburton Stadium or that Sonya Hill, the energetic lady who organized the Christopher Lane Memorial Run, is working now to coordinate an anti-bullying program at Duncan High and observance of the bully prevention Blue Shirt Day Oct. 7.

I could tell you the Beatles used to be Johnny and the Moondogs or that The Beach Boys used to be Carl and the Passions, but then you’d think I was a concert-going fan of Mumford & Sons, Richard Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros or Alabama Shakes.

I could remind you the big rummage sale that supports The Toy Shop is Oct. 3-4, but my guess is you already know that and have made plans to attend the Stephens County Fairgrounds event.

I could share all of that, I suppose, but there is so little space remaining and so little time left that, if it’s all the same with you, I won’t even try to write a column this week.

But I do hope you have a nice day.

edarling@duncanbanner.com, (580) 255-5354, Ext. 130