Ah, there’s culture and then there’s agriculture…

You know, living in the heartland, here in Bush’s America (Missouri narrowly went for Bush in 2000 but my county is in the rural northern part of Missouri that votes Republican), sure does lead to some interesting experiences.

We often hear about the importance of values and education here in Bush’s America. Well, listen to this story about the value placed on education in my little town, a town, I remind you, with a university in it no less.

Anyway, our local high school team has made the state final four tournament. I was appalled to discover yesterday that the school district decided that, by golly, they’d just take TWO DAYS OFF so that everyone could go down to Columbia and watch the game.

Yes, you read that right, boys and girls. The local school district took two days off from school because the team made the final round of the state tournament. Anyone see anything the slightest bit wrong with that? What kind of message do you send to kids when they get days off from school essentially to celebrate the basketball team’s achievements?

I mean, let’s be honest, the high school kids aren’t going to miss much losing two days of school there (it’s high school for goodness sakes) – but the elementary and middle school kids too? Are you kidding me?

This whole thing led one of my colleagues at work to quip that we should get a local referendum passed renaming the School District the “____________ (town’s name withheld to protect the innocent) Athletic Club.”

Well last night I went to a church function and made a few sarcastic remarks and boy did I get a response. I found out a bunch of people planned to go to the games. My remarks were most certainly NOT appreciated by a lot of people there.

Of course, at least one person seemed to agree with me and even quipped “Well, it does seem a bit much. What if they lose on Thursday and therefore don’t play on Friday? Is everyone just going to dutifully just come back and go to school on Friday?” I responded “No. That will be an official day of mourning.”

The most awful part was when I got in the car after this function and my nine-year-old son, Michael, who had heard all of this, said “But Dad it is important. It’s why Maryville is known.”

You can imagine my response. I won’t share that lecture with you too.

And I’m not even a particularly anti-sports or anti-athletics person at all. It just seemed so out of proportion to cancel school for the basketball tournament.

But, you know what, this really is an important question. Is this the sort of vapid culture and fake commitment to education that exists here in Bush’s America?

“No Child Left Behind” – at least when the team bus leaves for Columbia, huh?