Youth sports? It’s all about the cheating!

Though I feel terrible for the kids, the fact that Jackie Robinson West was just stripped of their U.S. Little League championship, for what amounts to recruiting violations, doesn’t surprise me in the least. Much like the doping epidemic during Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France tenure, cheating is the norm in all youth sports.

Put another way, compared to youth sports coaches and officials, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are mere pretenders.


And the reason all those recently interviewed coaches continue to insist there are only a few bad youth sport apples is, if they told the truth, they wouldn’t be coaching for very long. Just like cockroaches, the leagues and clubs can’t stand it when you turn on that kitchen light.

After four years of coaching youth soccer, and despite the fact that the Tri-Cities Soccer Association (TCSA) is better than most clubs, I was shocked whenever I came across a coach who didn’t cheat.

Northern Illinois’ biggest and oldest youth soccer club, Sockers FC, were bleepin’ blatant about it. And the reason they got away with it is they also ran the Northern Illinois Soccer League which is the only game in town. (No conflict there!) If you dare to complain – your club is out of the league. Good luck finding opponents!

It isn’t limited to youth soccer either. Given my previous newspaper columnist history, parents still come to me with all kinds of horror stories. So here are just a few examples:

  • We’d play most travel teams twice a season. And it would always amaze me how the rosters of losing teams would be completely different the second time around. This was especially true of the Sockers who’d simply round up the best players from their higher level teams to “right the ship.” Meanwhile the marginal kids just sat on the bench.
  • Teams would consistently “sandbag” or essentially place themselves in less competitive brackets to assure wins. The result was frequently getting blown out by double digits. Though this practice was another Sockers specialty, everyone did it – especially in the tournaments.
  • Another fun thing about tournaments was, we consistently had to face 6 foot tall 13 year-olds who clearly had to shave. While one out-on-the-end of the bell curve 13 year-old player wasn’t unreasonable, there were entire teams where their smallest player was bigger than our biggest player. The Lincolnshire Lightning were the masters of beating the age requirements.
  • And speaking of the Lincolnshire Lightning, despite a massive 2 percent Hispanic population in the area around that city. Their best teams were 100 percent Hispanic. They simply robbed the nearby Hispanic clubs of their best players because they couldn’t compete with them financially.
  • Indoor winter soccer was the worst. Travel teams would sign up to play in the recreational leagues so they could run the table. And my 13 year-olds were frequently pitted against high schoolers. And the folks at Sportsplex didn’t give a bleep as long as they got those team entry fees. I did force them to admit one team was cheating when I took pictures of their players with my cell phone.
  • Each soccer club hires their own referees, and again, with the exception of the TCSA, they make it clear that those refs won’t be on the pitch very long if they don’t make the “right calls.” The Sockers were notorious for this. Many TCSA coaches begged the club to retaliate, but they wouldn’t. It was one of the very few times I’ve seen any youth sports club stand up for fair play.
  • But let’s not get too crazy about the TCSA either! Their trainers, some of whom were amazing former soccer stars, were instructed to tell the kids they were all “A” level players regardless of the truth. It was all about keeping the cash rolling in. And as long as you had the cash, your child would be placed on a TCSA “Premier” team without any regard for their true talent level.
  • Much like Lance had to dope to compete with other dopers, more than one TCSA official encouraged me to cheat to level the playing field.
  • A slew of Tri-Cities Little League parents have told me that talent has no bearing on making a travel baseball team. It’s who you know, what subdivision you live in, and how much money you’re willing to put into tall the club’s various training programs.
  • In all youth travel sports, coaches consistently try to steal other teams’ best players which is a blatant violation of club rules. By expanding their boundaries, all JRW did was attempt to “legalize” that kind of poaching.

And the parents couldn’t give a flying bleep about any of this. As long as the clubs continue to dangle the prospect of a college scholarship, not only are they willing to go along with all of it, but they’ll howl like stuck pigs if you dare bring any of this dysfunction to light. It’s a lot like a self-fulfilling feedback loop in which the parents, coaches, and the clubs all pretend and convince each other that everything’s alright.

The only difference between all those other Little League teams and JRW is that JRW got caught.

So the cheating doesn’t surprise me at all. What does surprise me is that someone actually had the cojones to come forward – and trust me – that Evergreen Park league VP will pay dearly for that. Because the only thing these clubs won’t put up with is “squealers.”

The reason this revelation came to light so late is, though all the local JRW league officials and coaches knew about the boundary scam, they said nothing. It took someone from another Little League organization to call them out.

In the end, we should all tip our hats to Little League International, the ruling body, who thoroughly investigated this situation and made the correct call. That doesn’t happen much in youth sports today.

Ya really gotta love conservative candidates…

…especially those running for Elgin City Council. I have yet to see a group so willing to go out of their way to entertain us.

Don’t get me wrong! There are capable conservatives like my crack radio cohort Larry Jones who actually smiles, doctors can locate his heart without an MRI, and he clearly understands the concept of cause and effect. But Larry’s the exception to the rule because the right-leaning city council contenders are showing their true colors faster than a Polaroid picture. (Look it up kids!) And as we say in the radio biz, it’s like manna from heaven.

The follies started with former Elgin OCTAVE board member and conservative ideologue, Julie Schmidt, trying to throw fiscally conservative candidate Kyle Scifert off the ballot on a petition technicality. You see, Ms. Schmidt fervently believes in less government until bringing the full weight of the government down on an opponent serves her purpose.

Thankfully, Mr. Scifert survived the challenge and Ms. Schmidt will lose yet another election.

Then we have mayoral opponent Joe Galvan who’s running a campaign that employs a middle school girl methodology. Offering no real platform of his own, Galvan’s biggest contentions are, not only did Mayor Kaptain ignore him at a public event, but the mayor had the temerity to dis his BFF councilman Terry Gavin.

Mr. Galvan will be lucky to get a third of the vote.

And just when you thought it couldn’t get any more fascinating – it does – thanks to our third conservative council candidate, Jamie Hjelm.

Jamie Hjelm  (courtesy of the Daily Herald)

Jamie Hjelm
(Courtesy of the Daily Herald)

Let me clearly stipulate that, having met Ms. Hjelm, she seems like a reasonably intelligent and engaging individual. She may be a bit straight to the point, but so am I! But none of that stopped her from being hoist by her own conservative petard.

Please allow me to explain!

You see, in addition to harboring political ambitions, Ms. Hjelm owns the Elgin-based A1 Cab Company and she’s running in great part because “The Man” – in the form of Elgin city code enforcers – has come down on her cab company more than once.

The latest bone of contention was a rather disorderly Villa Street garage which she tried to explain away by claiming her father kept antique cars. And to say the relationship between the A1 Cab Company and the Elgin Police Department is strained would be the most massive of understatements.

You know how good conservatives can’t stand the police!

As the Bard once wrote, “here’s the rub.” Despite running on a fiscally conservative and less selective enforcement of city regulations platform, Ms. Hjelm has been doing her damndest to encourage more municipal regulations.

Faced with stiff competition from those app enabled Uber folks, Hjelm has been lobbying a host of local municipalities for stricter ride sharing regulations. Without going into great detail, given that Uber drivers are just regular folks like you and me, her proposed ordinance would give A1 a vast competitive advantage.

Imagine if those part-time drivers were forced to pay to have their vehicle painted like a cab – which by the way – isn’t a even an Elgin requirement.

You know how good conservatives loathe the free market.

In a most delicious irony, when Ms. Hjelm recently brought her ride share regulations before the South Elgin Village Board, instead of granting her wish, they voted 5 to 1 to do away with their taxi code completely. So now it’s even easier for an upstart South Elgin cab company to compete.

And the City of Elgin is seriously considering the same move. So let’s just say Ms. Hjelm wasn’t too happy with this outcome telling reporters, “Getting rid of the taxi ordinance makes no sense.”

What’s that old saying about sleeping dogs and leaving well enough alone?

But I think Ms. Hjelm should be thrilled with her effort because, as a mere candidate in an entirely different city, she did what most conservative city council members can only dream of! She managed to single-handedly deregulate an entire South Elgin industry!

So chin up! This is a massive victory for conservatives everywhere. So what if it was utterly unintended! The fact that Ms. Hjelm didn’t mean to do it should have absolutely no bearing on the impending celebration. Where’s Fox News? A conservative finally accomplished something!

God I love conservatives! I can’t wait to see how Jason Dusenberry plans on topping this one!


P.S. I want to give the Daily Herald’s Elena Ferarrin credit for her continuing coverage of the Elgin City Council race because it makes my life a lot easier and she scares me.

There is no other side to this story!

So now that we’ve settled the newsroom dynamic that drives reporters to unerringly seek out the most far-fetched other side of a story and thus, slowly lose their capacity to tell the truth, (see my previous blog post) let’s move on to my main point. And that point is, when it comes to Kane County Sheriff Don Kramer’s self-inflicted $2.5 million budget deficit – a feat he single-handedly accomplished in less than 30 days in office – there is no other side of the story.

And those local reporters who are doing their damndest to pretend there is are only doing themselves and their ever dwindling readership a massive disservice. It may be somewhat rare in this existence, but some things really are cut and dried.

If you recall, Sheriff Kramer unilaterally sent about 100 U.S. Marshal’s prisoners packing the result of which is the aforementioned $2.5 million corrections budget hole. In a massive case of closing the barn door long after the horse got out, the Sheriff attempted to justify his malfeasance by claiming the Kane County jail is unsafe.

kramer2In an effort to be “fair,” the papers are giving this blatantly bogus excuse credence despite the fact that it holds even less water than another California drought. Should you require more details, please avail yourself of this blog post.

Meanwhile, here are the facts:

1. The Sheriff had no right to terminate the U.S. Marshals contract

…Which was signed by former Chairman Karen McConnaughay. And this indisputable fact means the debate should end right here. Let me say it again! Sheriff Kramer had no legal right to end the contract.

Whatever after-the-fact excuse he’s managed to come up with is utterly immaterial because nothing on the planet can mitigate this illegal action.

2. If the jail is “unsafe,” the Sheriff shoulda brought it before the Board

Because that’s the way it works. Aside from the Marshals, the only group with the power to cancel that contract is the Kane County Board. Not even the Chairman could terminate the contract. Provided the opportunity, perhaps the Board could’ve mitigated any potential safety issue.

3. But the Kane County jail is not unsafe and it never has been unsafe

If the jail was unsafe, it wouldn’t have passed every single annual Illinois Department of Corrections inspection. If the jail was unsafe, it would not have passed every single U.S. Marshals inspection. If the jail was unsafe, the Marshals would never have signed the contract to begin with.

If the jail was unsafe the problem would’ve appeared somewhere in the last eight years of Judicial and Public Safety Committee meeting minutes. If the jail was unsafe, the past Chairman and members of the Judicial Committee would’ve said something.

If the jail was unsafe, corrections officers would’ve been attacked far more than once or twice in eight years. If the jail was unsafe Kane County wouldn’t be the beneficiary of 250 regular volunteers who minister to the inmates right there in the pods.

And lastly, if the jail was unsafe, Sheriff Kramer would never have attempted to reinstate that contract before the Marshals told him exactly what he could do with his piece of paper.

4. It never pays to aggravate a U.S. Marshal

Apparently Sheriff Kramer never watched The Fugitive with Tommy Lee Jones. Obviously irritated by his surly attitude and flip-flopping ways, the Marshals decided to remove all of their prisoners which increased that deficit from $1.4 to $2.5 million. Sheriff Kramer may prefer to call it a “federal drawdown,” but the truth is, it’s the Marshal’s not-so-subtle way of saying “fuck you!”

5. Other counties covet these federal prisoners

In the words of Kendall County Sheriff Dwight Baird, who’s making a play for these prisoners, “This will generate revenue for the county. Our intent is to work with the federal government and maximize our resources here in Kendall County.”

6. The Sheriff is solely responsible for his budget hole

Having been in office for only two weeks and utterly failing to comprehend the consequences of his action, Sheriff Kramer illegally terminated a contract and, by doing so, dispensed with $2.5 in revenue. The fact that he’s blaming everyone but himself doesn’t change anything.

7. Kane County doesn’t have the cash to cover this

For argument’s sake, let’s say we’ve slipped into some sort of parallel Universe where Sheriff Kramer actually has a leg to stand on. The current $1.6 million Kane County contingency fund ain’t nearly enough to cover a $2.5 million hole.

And that contingency fund is never supposed to go to just one department. So should Chief Judge Brawka and State’s Attorney Joe McMahon be forced to cut their budgets to cover the Sheriff’s inability to understand the concept of subtraction?

8. It took me just 20 minutes to get three sources to tell me the truth

Sheriff Kramer, who has a well-known penchant for speaking his mind in the present moment, essentially said, “I’m going to get rid of every last vestige of Pat Perez and it starts with the Marshals’ contract.”

And so he did!

Going back to Klosterman’s original contention, the fact that our local reporters, and especially their editors, consciously choose to give merit to the Sheriff’s ex post facto argument is beyond the pale and further erodes whatever credibility their papers may have left. Because no one within the sound of my voice could possibly interpret this series of events any differently than I have.

The sad thing is, it’s so simple to dismiss the Sheriff’s claim. All you have to do is call former Sheriff Pat Perez and ask if the jail was ever unsafe. But only one Courier-News reporter made that call and she couldn’t get the story straight if it bit her in the butt.

She’s already reported that the Judicial Committee has co-chairs and that no one from the Sheriff’s office attended the recent Finance Committee meeting when I was sitting right in front of two of ‘em – one in uniform. So I wouldn’t be holding your breath for that one.

Newspapers have got to start printing the truth and stop worrying about both sides of the story when one “side” is clearly pure and unadulterated BS. The least the local papers could do is run an editorial demonstrating they have a modicum of collective common sense in this case.

But that hasn’t happened either. We’ll see what happens going forward.

How most reporters eventually lose their credibility

Since I have no intention of boring you with a 2,000 word post, what we’re gonna do is set up today’s main blog piece on why their coverage of the Kane County Sheriff’s self-inflicted $2.5 million budget deficit makes local reporters look like they’re completely clueless.

To prove that very point, we will, once again, turn to the great Chuck Klosterman and his excellent book, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs in which he uses subtle humor to explain this phenomenon in a way that I never could.

Chuck Klosterman

Chuck Klosterman

So without further ado, here’s Mr. Klosterman on reporters:

“Meanwhile, individual reporters – the drones who do all the heavy lifting – tend to be insane. Being a news reporter forces you to adopt a peculiar personality: You spend every moment of your life trying to eradicate emotion. Reporters overcompensate for every nonobjective feeling they’ve ever experienced; I once got into a serious discussion over whether or not the theft of a live fetus from the womb of a of a kidnapped pregnant woman could be publicly classified as a “tragedy.” What civilians in the conventional world need to realize is that journalists are not like you. They have higher ethics and less common sense. For example: Let’s say somebody was trying to pass a resolution that created stricter pedophilia laws. Most normal people would think to themselves, “Well, I’m against kids being molested and so is everybody I’ve ever met, so – obviously – if I was asked to write a story about this resolution, I’d make sure people understood it was a positive thing.” Reporters never think like this. A reporter would spend the next three hours trying to find an activist who’d give them a quote implying it was unconstitutional to stop people from performing oral sex on fie-year-old boys. Journalists aren’t trying to tell you their version of what’s right and what’s wrong, because anyone who’s been a reporter for five years forgets how to tell the difference.”

Mr. Klosterman continues:

“…let’s say [our reporter] leaves the office and swings by Stop-N-Go. While walking toward the counter with his beverage in hand, a crazed loner walks into the store and shoots the convenience store employee in the face, killing him instantly. The reporter watches this shooting happen. The crazed loner then begins screaming like a maniac, and two cops rush in an apprehend him. And as a consequence, he calls up his editor on a cell phone and volunteers to write story about the event. And he probably writes something like this…

RANDOM CITY, USA – The owner of a local Stop-N-Go was killed tonight in a brutal act of seemingly random violence. The alleged perpetrator was immediately taken into custody but firmly denies his involvement in the crime. “I never shot nobody.” Said the alleged gunman, who is also wanted for murder in seventeen other states.

Actually, I’m sort of exaggerating: I’m sure a copy editor would undoubtedly feel obligated to remove the word “brutal.” But by and large, this would be seen as a reasonable account of the events. This is why all reporters eventually go insane: Even if you see a guy shoot someone – in fact, even if a guy shoots you in the face and you watch the bullet come out of the chamber of the .38 he’s holding – the event needs to be described as an “alleged” crime, and that alleged criminal needs to allege that he had no part in anything that allegedly happened.”

And let me tell ya folks, that is about as perfect an explanation of any human dynamic you will ever see anywhere. It’s dead on! Though I do wish Chuck had made it more clear that it’s really the editors who do their damndest to inculcate and enforce this bizarre method of thinking.

Most reporters really do know what’s going on – at least they start off that way – but after just a few years of having to pay heed to a side of a story they know to be patently untrue, it begins to take its toll.

Then, one of two things happen. The reporter either avoids getting to the heart of a matter because they don’t want to have to print the “other side,” or the story becomes secondary to pitting the protagonists against each other.

In either case, the truth no longer matters.

And since most newspapers readers are generally intelligent and older moderates, the reporters, the editors, and the paper itself loses all credibility and people simply stop reading.

Don’t get me wrong! This leveling the playing field at all costs philosophy worked when print was the only game in town, but that hasn’t been the case for a long, long time. Even though Fox News regularly takes the art of “truth telling” to a new low, they’re raking in the cash because, as stilted as their “observations” are, they provide the kind of “insights” that the viewer might not have otherwise have gleaned.

There are reporters who can pull this kind of thing off without compromising their journalistic integrity, but it’s a really short list. The Tribune’s Rick Pearson, former Sun-Times reporter Dave McKinney, the Elgin Courier News’ Dave Gathman, and, on occasion, the Daily Herald’s Elena Ferarrin all do a great job getting to the heart of a story.

But despite the Dylan-esque floodwaters rising around them, managing editors refuse to veer from this trajectory because they will always do what they’ve always done because they’ve always done it! So, once again, the inescapable underlying truth is, most print media wounds are self-inflicted.

And now it’s on to our main story.

This is the February 5, 2015 edition of Left, Right and You!

That Smiling Conservative and I want to thank Elgin City Council contender Kyle Scifert for coming in and letting our listeners know what he’s all about. I gotta tell ya, Larry and I can’t remember the last time a candidate said they wouldn’t be accepting any donations whatsoever!

Scifert3We also want to thank Ancel Glink’s Derke Price for calling in and finally explaining the intricacies of the impending Campton Hills consolidated election primary correctly. C’mon newspapers! Ya gotta do better than what you’ve been doing.

My cohort and I also had a fascinating conversation on the efficacy of Elburn doing away with their police department. Conservatives don’t seem to understand that cutting taxes might just affect them too!

Unless things change, next week, we’ll talk about the Sheriff’s $2.4 million budget hole and a conservative Elgin City Council candidate and cab company owner who actually believes in more government regulations!

Until then, enjoy the show!

Left, Right and You…

…is about to go live! So here’s the voice promo:

Elgin City Council challenger Kyle Scifert swears he’s gonna make into the studio today so we’re looking forward to hearing his opening statement.

scifert2Then Larry and I will put somewhat of a cap on the recent Campton Hills follies. Though the primary election issue has been resolved, this saga just gets more and more strange. Ain’t if funny how one small village’s dysfunction can cost Kane County Taxpayers $144,000.

And speaking of taxpayers, the city of Elburn is considering letting their entire police department go. It may sound like a drastic move, but what do you do when your citizens won’t approve the referendum required to absorb those rising costs?

We have a big announcement about the show too!

That’s Larry Jones, the Smiling Conservative, and, yours truly, the Liberal Curmudgeon on Left, Right and You today at 3 p.m. on WRMN AM1410. We promise it’ll be the best hour of your day!

I’m not reading Harper Lee’s new book either

This morning, on his generally excellent Every Goddamn Day blog, Sun-Times columnist Neil Steinberg succinctly describes why he won’t be reading Harper Lee’s recently announced second book, Go Set a Watchman. Of course, Ms. Lee’s far more famous novel happens to be To Kill a Mockingbird.

LeeEven though I will most certainly be following in Neil’s non-reading footsteps, and his theory that some artists are noble for stopping after one effort has merit, I have some slightly different thoughts on the matter. I’m not reading Ms. Lee’s pre-sequel because I’m so bleepin’ tired of one-off artists of any kind that I could spit.

I”m sure there are cases where, after a massive success, some of ’em wake up and say, “That’s all I got!” And we should be grateful for that rare kind of insight. Boston, Meatloaf, and Alanis Morrissette all shoulda availed themselves of that very notion.

As one of my favorite former managing editors used to say, everyone has at least one good column in them, but very few have two.

So while some may well be noble for bowing out, for the most part – especially when it comes to authors – we’re talking about utterly self-absorbed people who wouldn’t know gratitude if it bit them in the ass. And the fact these generally warped individuals can so casually dismiss the success that eludes so many great writers is not something to be lauded – it’s something to be pitied.

Every time I read anything about Ms. Lee’s post Mockingbird life, I just wanna smack her – and somebody shoulda smacked her a long, long time ago. It’s not too late at 88 either! She had to have her sister protect her? From what? Growing up?

I particularly love watching musicians evolve. Yes! Sometimes it doesn’t work out, but at least they gave it their best shot. I also love superdeluxe box sets because they almost always provide some very unique insights into a band’s process. Yes! Some are money grabs, but that’s why we have critics.

So while some artists should have stopped at one LP, imagine if the Beatles, U2, the Stones, Pink Floyd, Green Day etc… had called it quits after their freshman effort!

Sure! Some of their albums aren’t classics, but that’s the very nature of the beast. It’s like all those silly 5 star Amazon music reviews. If everything’s a 5, then nothing is. It becomes a completely meaningless measure.

As Neil basically said, the fact that some artists occasionally stumble does not diminish their masterpieces – it makes them that much more worthwhile. The great Babe Ruth used to say that every strikeout brought him that much closer to the next home run. And ya gotta love him for that.

But as far as folks like Mr. Salinger, Ms. Lee, D’Angelo (who’s current album is mediocre at best despite a 17 year hiatus) go, my fondest wish is that we let them slip onto the vast obscurity they say they crave and so richly deserve!

The Tribune ain’t fooling anyone!

Did any of y’all take a really good look at the Tribune’s pre-Super Bowl Sunday sports section? And if you happened to do so, did you notice what I noticed?

On the front page there was a massive graphic of all the NCAA folks who were drafted before New England quarterback Tom Brady and Seattle Quarterback Russell Wilson in the 2000 and 2012 drafts. Printed in the shape of Super Bowl trophy, it took up the entire front page.

The phrase that immediately comes to mind is, who gives a flying bleep?

?????????????????????????????????????Let’s move on to page three where a black and white – not color – photo of a couple of Seahawks players takes up more than half the page.

On page four they have a graphic of various Super Bowl quarterback stats in 137 point print that also takes up at least half the page.

Then, page seven pays respect to the late Ernie Banks with pictures that take up two-thirds of the page. At least most of them were in color.

To make matters even worse, pages eight and nine basically consisted of a Bulls/Blackhawks graphic that outlines the obstacles those teams need to overcome to win a 2015 championship. There’s a lot of lovely white space on those pages too!

And the back page is one giant Mountain Dew ad.

Apparently the Tribune is now subscribing to the sub-atomic school of newspaper management in which most of the sports section will now consist of empty space. As the great Paul Simon (singer not Senator) once said, “Who do they think they’re foolin’?”

Even my lovely wife, the only reason we’re getting a Sunday paper said, “Holy crap! I made it through the entire Sunday Tribune in just ten minutes!” Trust me, if it wasn’t for her, the Tribune would be a distant fond memory.

Though I can kinda appreciate the Taoist nature of this less is more effort, can someone please explain exactly how this strategy is going to keep, much less bring print readers back? The massive irony, of course is, if the Tribune caught a politician attempting the same kind of thing, they’d make mincemeat out of them.

Ah well, like that proverbial cumulonimbus silver lining, the less we have to hear from those invariably incorrect sportswriters the better off we’ll all be!

On the superiority of Midwesterners!

You can have your east coast posers. You can keep your west coast Lebowskis. And you can certainly dispense with your silly southerners whose smarmy “charm” has always managed to elude me.

Put more simply, just give me my mellow Midwesterners every time.

When New York and their nearby ilk were faced with a recent “blizzard,” they shut everything down including the subways BEFORE the storm! Of course, that’s probably the safest that system has ever been.

What a bunch of wimps! Ah Well! Whaddaya expect from a gaggle of no-account nitwits who insist upon putting ketchup on a hotdog and eating strange forms of pizza?

Sunday's Super Bowl Shuffle 5k courtesy of the Daily Herald

Sunday’s Super Bowl Shuffle 5k courtesy of the Daily Herald

When Atlanta got hit with a mere two inches of the white stuff last winter, the entire city shut down trapping young students their school gymnasiums overnight. Oh the ignominy! Two inches! No wonder Atlanta sports teams never win any championships.

Our only solace was, considering their bizarre and annoying accents, no one could understand a bleepin’ thing they were shrieking and howling about anyway.

C’mon! What do you expect from a “culture” that embraces something called “grits” and “sweet tea?”

When a three inch December 2014 “snow storm” hit Southern California, they shut down entire sections of their highway system. Los Angelans (is that what you call ‘em?) were so terrified of the impending 30 degree low temperatures, they started preparing for the zombie apocalypse.

Low 30s! Midwesterners consider that skinny dipping weather! Perhaps we expect too much from a city that thinks smog is one of the four basic food groups and David Spade deserves a start on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Meanwhile, the heart of the Midwest got hit with anywhere from 14 to 21 inches of snow and no one blinked. It was the fifth worst blizzard in Chicago history and we just shrugged it off. The average Sunday subdivision conversation went something like this:

“Hey John! A few flurries today eh?”

“Yep. Who do you like in the Super Bowl?”

That’s it!

There was no collective freaking out, no mass rending of garments, and no lamenting our scurrilous fate at the hands of some inconsequential white stuff that occasionally falls from the winter sky.

I saw a number of runners running, four-wheel drive vehicles had no problem with the worst of it, and neighbors simply helped other neighbors quickly dispense with the white stuff. Some, to give the snow a fighting chance, armed themselves only with a shovel instead of hauling out the snow blower.

Then, despite a wee bit of wind, everything was back to normal less than 24 hours later. Public transportation was running, the roads were clear, and businesses were open. Not even O’Hare Airport completely shut down!

So here’s to those hearty Midwesterners who consistently put their fellow countrymen to shame. Though that’s clearly not setting the bar too high because the rest of you really kinda suck!