Many years ago when I was a junior in high school, I needed to earn a letter in one more sport before I could earn my coveted Varsity Club Jacket. Back in the days of high school, next to owning your own car, the varsity club jacket was a symbol of success.
You are, no doubt asking yourself, why this trip down memory lane? Well, bear with me for a few quick paragraphs and I’ll get to that point shortly.
My goal to get the jacket was purely a selfish motive on my part. To be awarded the jacket I had to letter in three different varsity sports before my senior year. Spring time sports were limited at our school, so I had to pick the sport and the competition at the position or in my case in the event in which I felt I could excel.
I decided my best chance to get that letter was in track, running the dreaded two mile race. I was not a distance runner. I wasn’t fast enough for the sprints or huddles. Not strong enough for the pole vault or shot-put, but I was tough enough to gut out the long distance race in order to place at least third in enough meets to get my letter. You see there wasn’t much competition at the two mile event. It wasn’t all that glamorous running around the track 8 times with your tongue hanging out while other competitors lounged around the inner track waiting for the more fashionable events to take place.
My decision to seek that role was not based in my deep rooted desire to do well for my school or team. It was purely personal and strictly about my desire to own the jacket.
So with that thought in mind I wonder if there is any correlation between my motives way back then and why we see folks from outside our political districts relocating to our communities to seek office. Our areas don’t hold great prestige. As a member of our editorial board wrote last week on this subject…. “We are older than the rest of the country. We’re losing more people. We’re sicker, poorer and less educated. Public services – are crumbling into dust”. So why does someone who doesn’t sleep here or spend their lives here among us want to represent our views in Washington, D.C.?
Dan Alexander is associate publisher of New Market Press and publisher and CEO of Denton Publications. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.