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Jim Collins is editor emeritus of The News-Herald and also serves as executive in residence at Lakeland Community College. His popular weekly column appears each Sunday in Comment in The News-Herald.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

On the field and on the ballot, the truth is important

This is the time of year when we must deal with endless debate on a couple of topics, such as: a) Is it possible, in this magnificent country of ours, to have election seasons that are not filled with mindless crap? and b) can the Browns return to their glory days by implementing the West Coast offense?
Let me deal with the second subject first.
As serious followers of professional football are aware, the world’s greatest football genius, Paul E. Brown, devised the West Coast offense in 1948. He just didn’t know what to call it.
The Browns were spectacularly successful in those days, and I saw all their home games, plus the road games that were televised.
Brown’s early version of that offensive system, whose diagrams were once credited to Bill Walsh (until we learned that he got them from Brown), slowly began to dawn on me as time went on.
I knew what I was watching, but the system didn’t have a name until the 1950 NFL championship game between the Browns and Los Angeles Rams, played at the lakefront stadium.
It was a miserably cold day, and there were fewer than 30,00 people there (you can look it up).
On the first play from scrimmage, Rams quarterback Bob Waterfield got the ball into the hands of Glenn Davis, and the speedster known at West Point as “Mr. Outside” ran for a touchdown.
It was a spectacular play. And the visitors were from the City of Angels. (That is important).
I turned to my brother and exclaimed: “Wow! Is that a West Coast offense, or what?”
Thus the origin of the term now commonly employed by the media.
The guy next to me wildly cheered with reckless and carefree abandon. He was in uniform and he said he was Glenn Davis’ brother. I had no reason to doubt him.
The good news is that the Browns scored on their next possession. Much later, in the game’s waning seconds, Otto Graham, the greatest quarterback who ever lived, moved the team into field goal position and Lou (The Toe) Groza responded by kicking the winning points for a 30-28 victory.
A bit of trivia: Otto’s middle name was Everett, and the mailbox in front of his house across from Garfield School in Willoughby Hills, said “O.E. Graham.”
(I know it was Willoughby Township at the time. That is beside the point.)
My other topic, about dirty politics:
Several years ago I instituted an organization called CACA, standing for Citizens Against Crap in Advertising.
County Prosecutor Chuck Coulson liked the concept so much he drafted a charter and sent out membership cards. Well, he sent out at least one that I know of.
Filth in politics goes way back, even before the Nixon-McGovern campaign of 1972, when operatives on one side ordered several hundred pizzas and had them delivered to the headquarters of the other side.
Dirty politics still manifests itself in many ways. I am not familiar with all of them.
But I do recall the “truth squads” of the 1960s, when one side would go from town to town, correcting the lies spewed by the other side.
Extravagant claims are commonplace at election time. I am happy to report that in the race with which I am most familiar, for judge of Willoughby Municipal Court to succeed Larry Allen, none of the four candidates is telling lies. They are all honorable people.
Yet history is replete with examples of egregious lies being told, and of all places, in contests for school board seats!
It has happened before (I have witnessed it) and it is happening again. An example was recently brought to my attention by my good friend Bill Burges, and I trust his information implicitly.
And guess what? It was the same old district, involving the same old people, as in years past.
Of all places to peddle filth — a school district!
Oh well. Nothing surprises me. Well, a few things, but not many.
I am not at liberty to reveal which district it is, but if you ask Bill he will probably tell you.
And when you find out, you probably won’t be surprised, either.
JCollins@News-Herald.com

1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Collins: I agree too! It is sad that certain individuals continue to spread lies, half-truths, non-truths, and anything BUT the truth regarding a certain school district (and I certainly know which district it is). The only ones to bear the brunt of the lies are innocent young students who have no say in the matter. Maybe if more people knew the truth behind the perpetrator, the lies would begin to sound hollow, forced, and contrived. For someone who sits on a county board that purports to set it's mission as the advancement of young minds, the lies become ever so much more the work of a hypocrite.

October 23, 2011 at 9:15 PM 

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