"It was the All-City Meet. Our (Hillcrest) mile relay team was favored to take the gold or at least the silver. I was your lead-off guy, and during my fourth stride out of the blocks I dropped the baton. It tumbled all the way to the edge of the track. It was awful....
You called us all together in the middle of the field and we could tell you were fuming. You then yelled for the equipment manager, "Let me see that baton!" It scared the poor kid to death. For a moment I was afraid you might beat me with it. Instead you threw it on the ground and stomped on it. Right there in the middle of JFK. You then picked it up, looked at it, and scolded something like, "I never want to see another one of these NEW batons in the hands of one of my track members again! Do you hear me?" Then you yelled at the other coaches, "Look at how light these aluminum batons are! My boys have been practicing with nothing but steel and on the day of the race we put this #$&! in their hands?!"...
Yeah, the baton was new, lighter aluminum, but we all knew that had nothing to do (with) my dropping it. We knew exactly what you were up to, but no one ever brought the subject up again. We simply moved on to the next race. (Emphasis mine)
The strategy and timing of your demonstration was pure genius. You could have "called-me-out" for such a bone-headed move, but you knew that would hurt our team, and I think you knew what it would do to me...."
I have a purpose for bringing up Mr. Bridges' sports story. I want to apply it to the City of Springfield regarding Park Central Square. Wes Johnson's story in the News-Leader seems a bit like grasping at straws to me, I mean, I'm being honest here.
In Back to square one? Johnson puts forth the challenge of whether Lawrence Halprin can be considered the designer of the square when another architect working in Halprin's firm was responsible for the majority of the architectural drawings. Well, that would be akin to saying that an architect hired by Butler Rosenbury to do work for Butler Rosenbury under the Butler Rosenbury stamp and seal isn't really Butler Rosenbury. It's quite a stretch but I appreciate the sentiment.
I noticed Vincent David Jericho was asking if those who wanted to see Halprin's work preserved could be blamed for a Heer's deal bail out by McGowan's exercise of their put option if the square renovation wasn't on schedule (as specified in their contract on the Heer's with the city) due to the question of the historic value of the square. Well, I don't really think so, these matters should have been considered long ago, before the contract with Kevin McGowan included the stipulation that the square would be remodeled by a certain date, actually, it should have been considered more critically whether it was a good decision for the city to take possession of the Heer's Tower way back when, but we are where we are and sometimes the best thing to do is to take our frustrations out on the aluminum baton rather than the player(s) responsible for the fumble.
Sometimes the best thing to do is to build up the team. I don't disagree with that but I also think that honesty, honesty from the start to the finish, is the best policy. The coach facilitated a "face" save for a young high school team player. It'd be nice if Wes Johnson could facilitate a "face" save through his article, or, if Butler Rosenbury, by stretching to suggest that a signed and sealed Lawrence Halprin design wasn't really a Halprin design because someone else in his firm drew the plans, could pull the city out of this mess but let's not forget that the high school boys on the team, including and especially the young man that dropped the baton knew what the coach was really doing. Our collective intelligence demands it.
We all want to be good team players. We all want the best for Springfield, Missouri and we all understand that we cannot afford to own the Heer's Tower anymore but this bed has been made and it'll be played out and City staff and City Council aren't high school age students dropping a baton at a sporting event. Still...the best thing for Springfield is that Kevin McGowan not exercise his put option even if the play turns out to have been made poorly. We'll just have to see how it comes out and hope that it turns out well in the end. A lot of it depends on Mr. McGowan, will he be a team player? Will he stomp on the baton or will he take his ball and go home? I remember McGowan making comment before the City Council at the public hearing of the Heer's deal on August 27, 2007:
"We're committed to this project and we're committed because we've formed some relationships here in Springfield. We're very much looking forward to get going...."
He said he was committed to renovating the Heer's Tower. Now would be the time to hope he meant it.