Politicians love to lend their support to organizations that make people happy. Our country's leaders and those in our own community often take time out of their busy leader schedules to cut ribbons, shake hands, rename streets in honor of individuals and generally grub on the pride we have for those among us who succeed.
Let us recall Mayor Mallory's Opening Day wild pitch or his steadfast support of the Bengals during a meaningless late season game against the Steelers. It is good for a sports team to be recognized by the community, especially a college program that needs an increase in attendance and some private donor help in order to reach the level that will allow it to succeed regularly. But it’s kind of awkward when the politicians come out and try to be a part of the celebration. Remember when City Council invited UC Coach Brian Kelly down to council chambers for some official recognition, only to make him wait around for 45 minutes and almost miss practice?
It’s just so unnatural when politicians try to put on their Everyman hats and talk about sports (or anything else that temporarily allows our rulers to associate with normal people). You can see the awkwardness in the athletes’ demeanor as they shake the hands of local leaders who they have never heard of or seen before. It’s like seeing elementary school kids walking on stage to pick up their 5th grade diplomas: “Uh, thanks?”
Nevertheless, Mayor Mallory has declared Jan. 1, 2009 to be "Cincinnati Bearcats Day," which amounts to a bold statement considering that day was already a national holiday. But the weirdest part of this sort-of newsworthy political support is that every part of the process — from determining who is worth publicly supporting, what to call the renamed holiday and how to write the declaration — is way calculated and traditional. The following is the official proclamation:
Be It Proclaimed:
Whereas, the University of Cincinnati’s football program is one of the nation’s oldest, which began the sport in 1885; and
Whereas, UC has been involved in several historical college football milestones starting with Dec. 8, 1888 when the Bearcats and Miami University (OH) engaged in the very first college football game played in the state of Ohio, launching a rivalry that is tied for the oldest in the game among major universities; and
Whereas, coaching luminaries have patrolled the sidelines at Cincinnati, including College Football Hall of Fame coach Frank Cavanaugh, who began his 24-season career at UC; and
Whereas, that coaching tradition has remained through the years and was once again realized in 2007, when Coach Brian Kelley began his first season with the Bearcats, posting a 10-3 record and earning a No. 17 ranking in the final Associated Press poll; and
Whereas, the Bearcats began the 2008 season with hopes of surpassing the achievements of the previous year and solidifying their place in the Big East Conference; and
Whereas, under the leadership of Coach Kelley, the UC Football Team rolled to a 10-2 record, Big East Conference Championship, and their first BCS Bowl Game in the Schools history; and
Whereas, the University of Cincinnati Bearcats will play Virginia Tech in Orange Bowl on January 1, 2009 in Miami, Florida;
Now, Therefore, I, Mark Mallory,
I, Mayor of the City of Cincinnati do hereby proclaim
January 1, 2009 as “Cincinnati Bearcats Day” in Cincinnati.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused this seal of the City of Cincinnati to be affixed this 1st day of January in the year Two Thousand and Nine.
Mark Mallory, Mayor
City of Cincinnati
Now, I’m all about tradition (if by tradition you mean mocking the weird formalities that are only around in the name of tradition), but the mayor’s stellar research team has done little to prove to me that they know what any of those statistics mean. And it’s probably only because it sounds like it was written by quill by a dude wearing pantaloons and a wig.
As such, I believe that next time the Mayor (or Gov. Ted Strickland, who sent a fairly normal-sounding letter in support of the ‘Cats) go all-out with the traditional celebratory renaming of days. This will involve the Mayor producing the original proclamation himself by quill and ink while dressed in his underwear and top hat. Copies shall be written by quill by his staffers, and a town shouter shall declare the news at Fountain Square at 8 a.m. Messengers on horses will hence deliver the copies to local media outlets, who will declare the day a most glorious occasion for celebration and cheer.
*The opinions stated in this essay are those of the writer and are not necessarily shared by the publishers of CityBeat, most of whom believe that Mayor Charlie Luken's designation of November 11th, 2004 as "CITY BEAT Day" was super sweet.