Just checked my voicemail, and I had a rather testy message from one of the officers at the Ambulance Squid, now several hours old. "Don, Beavis and Betty were looking for you. They want to go to the Girard football game and it's getting late, so call me at the shed when you get this." Well, it's almost 10:00 p.m., so I don't think I'll bother her right now. We DO cover the Virden and Girard football home games, you see, but since each team is playing nearly an hour away tonight, I'm guessing they weren't at the Girard field for very long before they figured out why I hadn't shown up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed with caffeine overdose in hand.
Yes, my fellow Americans (and all you lovable foreigners,) it's football season again, and that means, if you're on a small-town ambulance crew on Friday nights, spending your Friday evenings watching high school football. There are worse punishments in life, but tonight I was exhausted from a long day and a good workout. I bought a paper on the way home and checked it out. My alma mater, the Bulldogs, are playing the Pretzels tonight (no, I'm not kidding) and the game is . . . . away. One down.
The other school we cover, the Big Red (Who have a vicious rivalry with the New French Lick "Juicy Fruit"--OK, that one I made up) are playing the Wildcats . . . . away. Oops. Oh well, kids, I wouldn't worry about it. The greater Girard metropolitan area has many inviting tourist attractions such as car lots and a Whirl-A-Whip, and is always worth the drive down nearly-scenic Illinois Rt. 4, which offers many scenic views of both soybeans and corn.
There's talk of consolidating Virden and Girard schools now, and people are starting to puff up their gills and feathers and dander and whatnot in impressive threat displays to Defend Our Beloved Schools. Except me, and here's why:
1. Consolidation is probably a great idea. Illinois has more school districts for its size than any other state. We are riddled with tiny rural districts that pay lots of redundant administrators and have to maintain their own athletic, transportation, and probably other systems. A consolidated district would be more stable, would be able to mix and match students between more buildings, and could make the transportation work better--probably.
2. It probably has no better chance this time than the previous three or so times it's been tried in my lifetime. It seems to get floated every decade or so. People draw battle lines (most of them on football fields or basketball courts, it seems) and the idea of consolidating becomes a symbol of what the evil, progressive world keeps trying to foist off on us, like gay rights and New Coke. Virden and Girard are vicious rivals of long standing in our athletic programs, and that seems to override all other considerations. Personally, I always figured that if Superman could work with Lex Luthor and Captain America could be on the same side as Joe Stalin (think about it, it's so true!) then we should be able to welcome our toothless, meth-addled brothers from the south with open arms. But not everyone is as loving and respectful as I am.