Tuesday, November 29, 2011

When Pigskins Replace Canvas

Football Illustration by artist Hall Groat II

If you've been reading my short but sharp comments on Facebook these days, then you know I'm not a big fan of what our government has done regarding our debt. Fifteen trillion dollars in the hole and still spending daily like some crazed old lady with a credit card glued to the shopping network. Where does it all end? Is our society on it's way to a repressed existence much like the popular book The Hunger Games? Which by they way is a pretty good little read.

But this rant isn't about our government. At least, not in so many words as this is more about us. A society that has lost their way and can't seem to see it either because we can't or we just refuse to.

In August of this year, the state of Texas lost 900 jobs in local school districts. This was due to $4 billion in cuts to Texas public schools and the blood bath is just beginning as according to the proposed Texas state budget for 2012-2013, Texas faces a huge shortfall, estimated to be between $15 and $27 billion.  Education stands to bear a significant portion of the proposed cuts in the next two-year state budget, which currently reduces education funding by 10% (nearly $5 billion). Approximately $771 million of the reduction will come from colleges and universities and they tell me several financial aid programs will stop accepting applications.

Prior to this in April, our State House killed funding for the Texas Commission on the Arts slashing $3.5 million in contributions. The Commission and its programs affect 2.2 million Texans statewide providing funding to a wide variety of events and programs, from the Austin Shakespeare Festival to the Amarillo Opera. It also provides marketing and promotional services to help rural Texas towns attract tourists.

The commission also uses funds to promote arts in education, providing grants to Texas students across the state through its Young Masters program, which last year gave 22 students grants of up to $2,500 in financial assistance to pursue the arts for up to three years.

But hold the phone my friends as this won't hurt the football program will it? It would seem that like Mr. Holland, the football program stays while everything else gets cut. And if that doesn't make you ashamed, then you are an idiot.

With America essentially in bankruptcy while an apparent group of monkeys given the name of Super Committee fail to make any changes whatsoever, we the people remain in denial refusing to change our way of life continuing to throw good money after bad.

For example, say hello to Allen High School. Back in April around the same time the TCA was being slashed all to hell, the city of Allen approved the construction of their new high school football stadium. The cost? A mere $60 million dollars. Yes my friends, you read that correctly as I said "high school" football stadium....sixtymeeeeeeeeeellion dollars.

Now I'm all about a good football game and as most of you know, I'm a tailgating fool. But get real folks. When was the last time you witnessed a running back solving dire economic challenges? Or better yet, creating a product, service or piece of art that essentially changes lives for the better? I won't argue that there have been some rare exceptions but Jack Bechta, a well known sports agent, was quoted in saying he was totally convinced that 75% of all professional football players will go broke about three to five years after leaving the game. This due to their outlandish lifestyles as well as shortcomings within their own educational background. So what do we do? We pull money away from the programs that actually further education and culture in order to keep feeding this machine.

As mentioned, it's hard to beat a good football game but the idea that we are this out of touch with what's really important has a terrible price associated with it.

Our entire well being of who we are as a society is based upon creativity. We are but a mere product of the ultimate Creative Himself who I'm convinced thrives on the things He has molded within His own hands. Wouldn't it stand to reason that our main purpose in life is to create and learn? To further His purpose and stand with conviction on the importance of a better society? A creative and learning society that actually contributes to this world rather than take from it?

It is with this that I close with Mr. Holland. Or as it was for me and my senior class, 
Mr. Keith Hooks. A man forced to leave his passion in order to provide for his family because our society refuses to invest in what is important. 

Take heed my good internet folk. If we are to make a difference in this world we must invest in our future. And for all of us, this means the education and creativity of our children as well as our very own society.

None of us are as creative as all of us. –Steve Jobs


  1. Reap = sow. It really isn't that complicated, is it?

  2. It shouldn't be. That is if recent graduates can actually define the words reap and sow. However, that may be a bit challenging when the biggest book you've ever read is Green Eggs and Ham.