QUOTE(Zipmeister @ Jun 24 2011, 02:43 PM)
The description of the situation at EMU sounds uncomfortably familiar.
In some ways, it does. In most ways, it doesn't. We have a top notch basketball program and a national champion in soccer. We have had pretty good track teams over the years. Other programs have performed well also. We have good facilities. There are positives.
Our problem is we built White Elephant Stadium, which I like to refer to as The Big Dialer, and it sits empty because of poor performance on the field. The footbal team casts such a negative light on the rest of the Athletic Department because the games happen at the beginning of the school year, it makes it hard to get marketing traction for a good team like basketball. The University badly needs to get the team winning and people in the seats.
The distance between where we are and where we would need to be is like the distance from the Earth to the Moon. While it isn't that far compared to other space bodies, it isn't exactly the easiest place to get to. We are much less like the Beverly Hillbillies Captain Kangaroo described and more like a guy who "built" a rocket and thinks he can fly it to the moon. A sample conversation might be like this:
Skeptic: "That's a really nice rocket ship you've got there."
UofA: "Thanks. We built it."
Skeptic: "Do you know how to fly it?"
UofA: "We built it didn't we."
Skeptic: "I know you built it, but do you actually know how to fly it?"
UofA: "Sure we do. We've seen other people do it before."
Skeptic: "I understand that, but have you actually piloted one before?"
UofA: "No, but we have a plan to fly it."
Skeptic: "Where are you going to fly it to?"
UofA: "Where else would we go? The moon."
Skeptic: "How are you going to guide the craft to the moon?"
UofA: "That's a silly question. Look how big the moon is. We'll just point it in the general direction and light a match."
Skeptic: "You mean you don't have a guidance computer? They had guidance computers even in the 1960s when we were exploring space."
UofA: "They were fools back then. Look up. If the three kings found Jesus by the light of the north star, we can find the moon by following the moon."
Skeptic: "Ya, but the three kings were riding camels and not sitting on top of tons of explosive liquid."
UofA: "There is little difference between driving a camel and driving a space craft."
Skeptic: "Let's get back to the trip to the moon. Does the pilot have any experience piloting a spacecraft?"
UofA: "Of course not, but he has an action plan."
Skeptic: "Do you think the plan will work?"
UofA: "The plan doesn't really matter, we built the rocket. The rocket alone will do all the work."
Skeptic: "So nobody has any experience leading a group of people who could guide a craft to the moon? What about the ground crew?"
UofA: "The ground crew is equally inexperienced. That doesn't matter though. We have this rocket and it will do all the work. Light a match and off you go."
Skeptic: "Do me a favor. Don't light the match while I am within 100 miles of the rocket."
UofA: "Don't worry. Everything will be OK. The rocket will do all the work."