It ain't over - Shawn Loughlin editorial
Celebrating is one of the most pure joys of this life. Accomplishing something and then marking it with an appropriate response is one of the best feelings in the world. Jumping the gun on a celebration - that can be wrong, or downright embarrassing.
Last week, Huron East Deputy-Mayor Bob Fisher, at a meeting of Huron County Council, suggested the creation of a plaque and a park to commemorate the excellent, life-saving work done at Huronlea and Huronview Homes for the Aged to keep residents safe from the potentially deadly COVID-19 virus. It’s an excellent sentiment and I won’t criticize it, but I do have to say that I agreed with some of his fellow councillors who suggested putting a bit of time between the pandemic and a memorial to ensure the battle had been won.
We ran that story in last week’s issue, the same week we had a story about Huron and Perth Counties shifting back into the red band of Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework. So, again, while I think most people appreciate the sentiment, it felt a bit early to celebrate. And Fisher agreed, saying he just wanted to put the issue out for discussion.
Absolutely no one wants to be former U.S. President George W. Bush on the aircraft carrier in 2003 standing in front of the massive “Mission Accomplished” banner, declaring the country’s operations in Iraq over. Eighteen years later and the country still has troops in Iraq, indicating that the mission is far from accomplished. (Years later, Bush would admit that the news conference was a mistake.)
Not to trivialize the county’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by comparing it to sports, but that is also very fertile ground when it comes to celebrating prematurely.
It almost feels like the sports arena was the birthplace of the premature celebration.
One I will always remember is a staple of sports clip shows: a college football game between Stanford and the University of California - Berkeley in 1982. Stanford was up by one point when California returned a kick on the last play of the game, using numerous lateral passes, to score a touchdown for the comeback win. Eventually, Kevin Moen ended up with the ball and charged for the end zone, but had to clamber through members of the Stanford marching band, who had made their way onto the field to celebrate the win.
There are many others. In football again, wide receiver DeSean Jackson had a history of dropping the ball to celebrate just a yard or so before he crossed into the end zone, resulting in video reviews and fumbles having to be recovered in an unexpected scramble.
In the Super Bowl, big man Leon Lett, a little too excited to score on one the few touchdowns of his career, slowed up and began showboating before hitting the end zone, allowing Don Beebe of the Buffalo Bills to catch up with him and knock the ball out.
A famous one took place in track and field just a few years ago when Tanguy Pepoit of the University of Oregon was in the home stretch of the steeplechase and began pumping his fist and letting up, only to let Meron Simon of the University of Washington, who was trucking along at full speed, catch up and win the race.
Only after he crossed the finish line and looked up did he know he didn’t win.
So, Fisher’s point is well-taken and the time will come for that plaque and those parks - with the hope being that it will be sooner, rather than later - but we’re just not there yet.
We will get there and the work done at the homes for the aged in the county has been tremendous, but we need to stay the course.