For 3 years, it ran in the Greeley Tribune. Since then, it has run in various subsidiaries of the Douglas County News Press. I still have most of my columns in digital format.
For many years, I only gave myself one rule: try to work the word "library" into every piece. My intent was to think in public about just what librarianship means at the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st.
There have been many advantages for me. I found that putting library plans out in front of the public, and getting feedback about them, helped me make better decisions. Sometimes, I found that it was very difficult for me to describe those plans or policies -- the kind of thing that makes me realize that they might not be good ideas after all. The weekly discipline of explaining my profession to the public keeps me more mindful, more honest. It also has provided steady visibility for the library and its issues.
November 23, 2006 - Turkey Bowl, with Potatoes
I'll lay my cards on the table. A man has to make choices in his life. He can't be knowledgeable about everything, even if he works at a library and reads a lot.
Weighing my choices, then, I made a radical life choice, and I've stuck with it.
I am a sports illiterate.
I mean it. I have never watched an entire baseball game or basketball game or football game on television in my entire life. I've been to a couple of live basketball games, but that was back in junior high school.
I play tennis, racquetball, and used to play handball. I was a diver in high school, and once took a second in the state competition. I still try to keep in some kind of shape (roughly, the shape of a potato).
But I mean no disrespect to anyone when I say sports just isn't my thing. Like car and home repair, sports is an area of carefully preserved ignorance in my life, and I'm fine with that.
That makes my recent invitation to serve as commentator to an upcoming sports event a little puzzling. I will be accompanied by David Truhler, who may be more knowledgeable about sports than I am. But not by much.
We'd much rather sit around and play guitar and banjo. Or work up some /a cappella/ version of Christmas songs for our soon-to-be-released CD, "Christmas a la Tuna." (David and I are the Tuna Boys, as surely the world is now aware.)
But we have been asked to officiate over Turkey Bowl X, November 26, 1 p.m., at the Douglas County High School stadium in Castle Rock. By "officiate," I mean "emcee and make remarks about the game."
The Turkey Bowl has an interesting history. It started in 1996. The local fire and police departments were going through a lot of changes. To build some team spirit, Bret Johnson and Ty Peterson decided to have a flag football game between the two departments.
For the first 4 years, the game was played at Centennial Park, with friends and family in attendance. After 9/11, the Turkey Bowl was a fundraiser for the Fallen Firefighter and Police Officers of New York City. It raised $3,000 for that worthy cause.
In 2002, the donations (over $4,000) were split between the Fallen Firefighters and Police Officers and the Womens Crisis Center, located here in Douglas County.
In 2003, the Women's Crisis Center got the proceeds ($3,000). In 2004, the Turkey Bowl raised over $5,000 for a local firefighter battling ALS.
Since 2001, the Turkey Bowl has raised over $15,000 for charities! In 2006, they're donating proceeds to Sungate (see www.sungatekids.org). They've also pulled in some noteworthy sponsors (MedVed, IREA, Town of Castle Rock, and various local businesses).
So if you're looking for intense civic engagement and clueless but (we hope) entertaining commentary, come on out to this unique event. Admission is $2 at the door, per person. You'll find concessions, commemorative T-shirts, and a half-time visit by an Airlife chopper. Finally, there's a post-game barbeque -- tickets available at the game. It's an ideal family event.
I'll close with a somewhat touchy point. In brief, the "Hose Jockeys" (firefighters) have "hosed" Magnum Force (police) for 9 years in a row. It was close in 2004 (14 to 12), but the rest of the years, it's been pretty lopsided in favor of the firefighters.
I'm going out on a limb here. This year, the firefighters are gonna be in trouble. This year, Magnum Force is taking no prisoners. I base this, of course, on my really impressive sports knowledge deficit, an ignorance so profound that for the first couple of years I was in Colorado, I thought the "Broncos" were some kind of rodeo team.