Playoff Loss Devastating?

There's more to worry about.

Posted Jan 22, 2019

Sports pundits and ardent fans alike have entered into heated debate about whether the Saint’s NFC Championship game loss was the most devastating ever. ‘Devastating’ is a big word with many synonyms: upsetting, damaging, hurtful, disturbing, distressing, to name but a few.  Both home teams lost over the weekend and that makes for a deeper loss. Sure, most of us think there was a missed call for pass interference in New Orleans. Many of us are not thrilled with another Patriots Super Bowl. But let’s put things in perspective. Devastating is all relative. There are a number of significant issues facing our nation and communities that are truly devastating and I hope that we can give local issues as much attention as we do our favorite sports teams.

And there are a lot of issues.  Let’s look at another football crazy town, Green Bay, WI. The Packers exited some time ago, but football sadness lives on in Green Bay, which makes it a great place to look at what else may be going on. 

Three strong local groups nicely point the direction to what really needs our collective attention.  The Bay Area Community Council (BACC) is a great example of keeping a finger on the collective pulse of a town. The BACC organized a Brown County 20/20 Envisioning the Future conference in 2012 and shared a vision created by 240 community leaders. Building on another major snapshot of our community, the 2011 LIFE Study sponsored by the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation, the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce and the United Way, the BACC developed action plans to address major challenges. No need for suspense.  The big five issues were: personal and community health, education, self-sufficiency, overcoming divisions, and education. If you are curious about these and other important issues such as poverty in Brown County, immigration, economic development, and alcohol abuse, extensive White Papers on each topic are available on the BACC website (www.bayareacommunitycouncil.org).

But you are still feeling bad about the football loss.  Alcohol abuse not a big enough issue? It is all relative. A negative mood from one’s favorite team losing a game pales in comparison to the problem of mental health in Brown County. The Wisconsin suicide rate increased by 15% from 2004-2011 and mental health needs for special populations continues to grow. One of our community’s beacons of hope for the mentally ill, the Foundations for Counseling, has been serving those in need for the past 50 years, working hard to better serve the community. An internal and external review of service options unearthed a glaring reality: There exists an unmet need for greater access to mental health care services and that this lack of access to service is at the root of other community issues. DO you know what is going on in your community? Want to know more?  Check out the the National Alliance on Mental Illness Brown County site http://www.namibrowncounty.org

And that’s not all folks.

Together with our state and county alcohol problems, we still have the challenge of getting ourselves (and our kids in particular) as healthy as possible. Groups such as WELLO (WELLO.org) are working hard to create environments in the community that support and promote healthy living for all residents, but it is going to take more from more of us.  If we do not act together it will truly be devastating. 

Yes, many Saints, Chiefs, and Packer fans miss having a Super Bowl run to distract them from the winter and fuel their days, but for fans everywhere there are a lot of other issues we can dive into, be fanatical and passionate about, and fire our minds with.  Take a moment and learn more about the truly devastating issues around and help make a real difference.

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