Thursday, October 12, 2017
Fans are disappointed, players didn't get the job done on the field and coaching is now under the microscope because things haven't turned out the way anyone had hoped.
But enough about the United States' men's soccer team.
Soccer players on the team, if they were allowed to use their hands, would undoubtedly give a thumbs down to the outcome of Tuesday's match that eliminated the U.S. team from the World Cup for the first time since 1990.
It's all too bad. Now, most Americans will just go back to ignoring the World Cup.
We're not soccer players, so we're going to use our hands, or at least a relevant appendage, for our weekly version of digital feedback.
[THUMBS UP] Six cities in Benton County will get to apply their green thumbs to expanding the population of trees within their boundaries after the Walton Family Foundation announced grants totaling $787,000 to support the effort. Bella Vista, Bentonville, Centerton, Gravette, Pea Ridge and Siloam Springs will get more than 2,000 trees for municipal projects and residential giveaways. A family spokesman said preserving and expanding the tree canopy will ensure the region's natural beauty will be a "point of distinction and pride for generations to come." We have the good fortune in Northwest Arkansas of being able to take our trees for granted, but this gift is a good reminder that we shouldn't. Let's not make the same mistake as some other fast-growing municipal areas by allowing new buildings and paving to wipe out one of the region's best features.
[THUMBS DOWN] The only coaching-related reason anyone could have wanted to be Bret Bielema this week is his salary. After last week's brutal loss to South Carolina and the way the season has gone, Bielema's future is the hot topic among Razorback fans and enemies.
It's the life of a highly paid coach, particularly in the Southeastern Conference. Fans will always be disappointed when their team isn't having the success everyone -- including the head coach -- wants so badly. Unfortunately, some folks take it all too seriously, acting as if losing a football game or having a bad season is going to determine whether the United States goes to war with North Korea. It's not that serious. But it's probably a subject of more talk than President Trump's Twitter feed largely because the outcome doesn't amount to the end of the world. With sports, we can have the strongest opinions and, when all is said and done, the worst possible impact is ending up with fewer touchdowns than the other guys.
Sure, millions of dollars are involved, but that's just proof that Arkansans, and fans of all other teams, are willing to spend big money for the fun of it all. And right now, the "product" coming out of Fayetteville isn't much fun. Still, calls to dismantle the coaching staff or to can the athletic director reveals frustration, but doesn't reflect a great strategy for the future of the program. Take a breather and let's see how the season progresses. Things don't look promising, we grant you, but upending the program in mid-October is a bad play call.
[THUMBS UP] Sometimes it's hard for those affected to recognize, but it's largely good news when local school districts in a rapidly growing region begin discussions about making adjustments to attendance zones. The influx of new residents, the construction of new subdivisions and the natural movement of existing residents all have an impact on where the students served by the public schools live. Every so often, that means school populations get out of whack, meaning districts aren't running as effectively as they must to deliver education in a cost-effective way that taxpayers typically demand.
Attendance zone changes can become emotional topics, more for the parents than for the ever-resilient kids. Several of the bigger districts were cited in a recent story about their examination of attendance zones and the potential for changes. That means school officials are doing their jobs. It's also a reminder that people with kids in local public schools should pay attention to what's going on. There's nothing wrong with contacting school board members to express concerns or to just alert them of a desire to be kept informed about changes and opportunities to provide feedback. And everyone should keep in mind that rezonings are necessary to keep school districts efficient so that the focus most of the time can remain on what's really important -- the education of the students.
[THUMBS UP] We were intrigued with the possibilities the other day when we heard the city of Tontitown, founded by Italian immigrants and home of the annual grape festival, is looking into building its own water tower. Water towers are often adorned with a town's name and perhaps a logo, but we got to wondering if this wasn't a real opportunity for Tontitown to do something more. Something creative, like the big peach hovering over Gaffney, S.C., or the big ear of corn in Rochester, Minn. What could Tontitown do? Why not a water tower in the shape and color of a grape? Should it be green or more of a crimson-colored grape? And if they want to get really creative, install a giant bare foot on top as though it's stomping on the grape. The danger might be that residents and visitors would expect wine to flow from their taps, but we only know of one occasion where water turned into wine. Tontitown's never really been a boring town, so why start with its water storage tank?
Commentary on 10/12/2017
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