Thursday, August 24, 2017

Why My Sons Will be Allowed to Play Football

As summer turns to fall, one major pastime’s season begins; football. Throughout the last sixty plus years, the sport of football has grown to be the United States’ top sport and is now to the point where 110 million people watched the NFL’s Super Bowl this past year. Over the past few years though, the sport of football has been under attack due to some valid concerns. The main concern is lasting injuries sustained from repeated hits to the head, causing the disease known as CTE. Although repeated hits to the head can happen in other activities, football has been the focus of these efforts to bring about awareness. As a result, youth football numbers are decreasing across the country and sports like soccer have been on the rise. Let us be honest, concussions can happen in any sport, such as soccer, and any activity, such as getting into a wreck while driving or riding in a vehicle. Yes, football can hold a larger risk due to the characteristics of the sport; and, I do not just ignore the fact that CTE is an important and dangerous issue. I also know of the other issues that come from playing any active sport throughout any point of your life. I personally still limp every day and am currently planning my fifth knee surgery from a lasting knee injury sustained during my last game of High School football in Pleasant Hill, MO. I also understand there is a high chance, due to my multiple collisions to my head – many of which happened during regular play/chores as a kid and went untreated, that I most certainly may have some form of CTE myself. There is nothing I can do to go back and change these two issues, and will live with these issues my entire life. I will also live every day with the benefits the sport provided my life.

Knowing the increased opportunity to get hurt, understanding the warnings, and listening to individuals who are against it; I still believe the benefit of playing football far outweighs the risk to injury while playing. Today, from the NFL to Peewee football, leagues are taking a more focused look at how to make the sport safe. From safer gear to concussion protocols, football is now safer than it ever was in the history of the game. On top of the game simply being safer, football is more than just getting hit and moving the ball down the field. Football builds an individual’s character, teaches you to be a part of a team, and forces an individual to overcome adversity. The guarantee in football is that you will fail at some point. You will not make a team. You will fumble the ball. You may drop the winning touchdown pass. Your team will lose. In that moment, you are forced to make a choice. You will either allow yourself to fail, or you will seize the opportunity to become better. In that moment, you grow as an individual. You will either grow to become a better person in life or a person who points a finger at others in your own failures.

I will never ridicule an individual who chooses to keep their child out of football because of the injury risk; but do not ridicule me for understanding such risk and still choosing to allow my child to play. I believe the benefits outweigh that risk. My oldest son is currently beginning to learn soccer and may never want to play football; but if he does, I will let him play. I would encourage you to go to to read more about the benefits of playing football, ways leagues are making the game safer, and opportunities across the country to allow more people to get involved in football.

I also want to take a second and send the best of luck to the Pleasant Hill High School Rooster Football team this season. The Mayor of Harrisonville, MO and I have made a small wager on our two squads’ game. The Mayor of the losing city must wear the opposing team’s school colors at their following Council meeting. So, be prepared to beat down them Wildcats! GO ROOSTERS!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Our Local Law Enforcement Deserve Better

As a mayor of a town, it is part of my responsibility to maintain a good enough budget to our police department to allow our police chief to adequately do his or her job. As the population grows in our local metropolitan areas, it is inevitable that crime increases also. We, as citizens and as local elected officials, must be willing to step up to the plate and give our local law enforcement the tools necessary to successfully do their job. We need to supply them with the gear to properly handle the dangerous situations they may encounter, the pay/benefits that they more than deserve, and the local community support to allow them to be proactive to crime instead of reactive. As a community, we need to be willing to deal with a pot hole in an effort to divert funds to our police department. In doing so, we make way for increases in starting pay to attract quality new officers, increases in raise opportunities for our proven officers, and adding more resources to better prepare and support our law enforcement as the communities they protect continue to grow.

Right now in Pleasant Hill, Cass County, the state of Missouri, and across the United States, there is a shortage of men and women willing to put their neck on the line to become police officers. This is due to the national movement to tear down these individuals we once respected. Instead of tearing them down, let us be more willing to stand alongside them and supply them with the tools to be successful. We, as a community, need to take an active approach in encouraging our local high school students to want to be protectors of our community. We need more kids to join the police academy and fire fighter school in order for us to meet these shortages. Crime isn’t slowing down, unfortunately. Our society relies on our bravest to serve, protect, and enforce our laws. Let’s foster renewed interest in this field by changing our attitudes today. This starts with you and me.

The next time you see an officer or fireman, take the time to shake their hand and say thank you. These men and women stand willing to give their life to protect yours. It is our duty as citizens to not only make sure they know they are appreciated, but supply them with the resources necessary to be successful. Be the example for others. Remind those around you that these people are just that – people – who have stepped up to do a very dangerous job. They deserve from you, in the very least, human decency. 

I would encourage everyone to come to a citizen organized event at the Cass County Fairgrounds in Pleasant Hill, MO on September 14th, 2017 from 5:00PM to 8:00PM to thank and celebrate all of our local law enforcement officers, fire rescue, and first responders for all the work they do for our community. 

It Has Been an Honor

I started my first job with the city of Pleasant Hill as a laborer in the Parks and Recreation Department. I painted lines on baseball fie...