March Madness

Paulie Brading

It's rainy, windy, with short breaks of sunshine, snow is mixed with rain - it must be Spring Break in Oregon. For the first time in a couple of decades I didn't fill out a bracket for the Men's NCAA championship. In Medford 99.9% of the citizens root for Duke due to some guy named Singler who graduated from South Medford High School. Gone are my days of rooting for U Conn. My obsession with the team even moved the faculty at the public school I was a part of to invite the U Conn cheer leading squad along with the Huskie mascot to lead a pep assembly in support of the team. I miss the hours of close games, the improbable 3 point shot from an angle that didn't seem possible and most of all I miss the underdog teams.

What changed? I answered the call to take a job that is so unpopular it defies even me. It's a job that involves reducing services and programs for kids. It's a job that causes school closures, estimations of cost vs. savings, contracting out, thinking about the loss of some sports, worrying about the employees keeping their jobs, negotiating contract adjustments and wondering if reducing full day K to half days is indeed March madness.

Most of us have learned the real world is very very messy. Most of us don't deal well with change. A medical study showed that doctors tell their seriously at-risk patients they will die if they do not make changes to thier lives - diet, exercise, smoking- only one in seven is able to make the changes. And change is coming in every school district in Oregon.

Today's little epiphany is I am a player. The referee has called a jump ball. Will the ball get tipped to Oregon's school kids? Here's hoping for a well played game in every board room. Here's hoping the kids are the winners. I'm still rooting for the underdogs.

Go Duke!

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