Good Luck

November 20th, 2019

earl watt mugL&T Publisher Earl Watt


Always start with common ground with someone who sees a particular issue differently than you if you can, so I will start with the same line that begins many stories, most of them positive, but apparently some that aren’t so positive, so without further ado — Once upon a time ...

A man loved to draw. He started out by drawing horses, and they were really good, but they didn’t make him any money.

After he served in the Red Cross during World War I, he came back and started an animation studio in Kansas City only to see it fail and go bankrupt.

Undissuaded, he asked his brother to join him and move to Los Angeles where he again started a studio that had promise with a rabbit as his lead character, but it, too, failed when his lead character was taken by a larger studio and his staff of artists was hired away.

Without a character and a staff, he continued to devise a way to entertain people with a new drawing, this time, with a mouse, and even his name for this new character was rejected by his wife.

“Mortimer Mouse will never work,” she said. “Call him Mickey.”

And the rest is history. Walt Disney started one of the largest, best-known companies on the planet.

That story is legend, but let’s look at another — Once upon a time ...

A couple of guys put together a computer in their garage, but they didn’t design keyboards, so they went to Smith-Corona, the world-famous typewriting company, and offered them a deal to make the keyboards, and in exchange, the company would be able to meet the new need that would be created with the new product of word processing.

Smith-Corona scoffed at the idea, believing no one would look at a computer monitor to type a document.

When Smith-Corona went out of business, they sold their multi-story building and all its contest for pennies on the dollar, and today, Apple is approaching the first trillion dollar company on the planet.

Not every story of chance ends in tragic failure, but every gamble comes with risk — and reward.

I was also unaware that three-wheelers were banned in 1988, and a reader informed me that a local race event took place some time around 1983. I was 12 at the time and loved to go riding with my uncle on his three-wheelers, and yet I still was unaware of a three-wheel race in Liberal. Perhaps poor advertising had a hand in this failed event, or maybe it was the danger of putting a high-powered engine on a tricycle.

Still, even if you have one bad event, do you never try again? If you fail, is the lesson we are teaching to never ever try anything ever again?

I agree wholeheartedly that Trailmobile was an epic failure. This was forced down Liberal’s throat by big wigs in Topeka who had a lot riding on bringing this company to the state. “If we didn’t play ball, Liberal would never be considered for another state project” I was told by more than one commissioner from that time.

Due diligence is important.

In Mrs. Craig’s letter, you would assume that aboslutely no research, study, cost analysis or public information had ever been presented about the transition of the former South Middle School to the Liberal Rec Center.

We have run multiple stories on the advancement of the property moving from school district to city and how the numbers have been described.

Back in May we ran stories on due diligence studies by the City of Liberal on a  budget for the recreation center at South Middle School, and the presentation said the new recreation center would require an additional $100,000 per year than the current rec department’s budget.

They only assumed 500 members even though the Garden City YMCA has 7,000 members and Garden has a recreation center in addition to the YMCA. It would seem Garden City is blessed with facilities for recreation.

The City also had an environmental study completed to determine any concerns with asbestos or if the land had any contaminants. All of this was explained at public meetings. The City did not take possession of the building until the environmental study came back clean. This process began after a presentation by Pete Earles of Earles Engineering that was printed Jan. 30, more than 10 months ago.

Not only has due diligence been satisfied, but local organizations have been studying the need for a recreation center for more than 25 years, dating back to Leadership Liberal classes and continuing until now.

Connie Seigrist mentioned during her campaign for becoming a city commissioner that a recreation center was her No. 1 priority, and she received the most votes.

And Tuesday, Ron Warren was the top vote-getter for the city, and he voted to approve the rec center. It seems the people are voting for candidates who support a rec center.

I did notice that Mrs. Craig compared Liberal to Garden City and Dodge City as not having a sports tourism director. Fair point. 

But did she also notice that Garden City and Dodge City have recreation centers, and Liberal doesn’t? You can’t make one point without conceding the other. If we want to compare apples to apples, we have to be fair with those comparisons.

Instead of always following what Garden City and Dodge City do, why isn’t it considered a good thing to be the first to do something different?

I believe there are two sports tourism events coming up in November — a soccer tournament at the new facility on the north edge of Liberal, and a football tournament a couple weekends later.

The soccer tournament will be new.

As far as a January event, this will require indoor activities, and since the sports tourism director just started, this could be a difficult request. Most tournaments for the rest of the school year in basketball and volleyball are already scheduled, and coaches have already sent their checks to other towns.

Soon, they will be sending checks here, and their parents will be booking rooms, eating at restaurants, shopping local stores and buying fuel.

The ending of this story is not yet known. Will it be a tragedy or a triumph? Mrs. Craig and I may be looking ahead, but I hope we both want a happy ending.

Pick your language/Elige su idioma