Sunday, March 7, 2004

Cincinnati can learn a lot listening to Marge Schott


Cincinnati 101

Cliff Radel
Even in death, Marge Schott can help Cincinnati.

She can teach us lessons about getting along, improving the city and not squandering life's most precious gift - time.

We can learn these lessons. But only if we are willing to listen. And take heed.

We must remember her words and deeds; put them into perspective.

MARGE SCHOTT
1928-2004
They all turned out to hail 'a great lady'
And a red-tailed hawk circled high over her gravesite
Players show up to honor 'a good woman'
Bronson: Marge reflected best and worst of Cincinnati
Radel: Cincinnati can learn a lot listening to Marge Schott

ONLINE EXTRAS:
Homily for Marge Schott
Funeral photo gallery
Memorial Section

Then, in the tainted but true words of Pete Rose, her once-distinguished and now-disgraced former manager: "Let's move on."

Schott's death Tuesday afternoon unleashed another round of Cincinnati-style self-inflicted bloodletting. Let the flagellating and teeth gnashing begin again.

Newspaper readers and callers to talk radio debated the good Marge versus the bad Marge. They recalled Schott's politically incorrect quotes and her fondness for calling everyone "Honey."

They moaned about Cincinnati being a racist place because Schott lived here. Some even belittled her charitable efforts.

After Major League Baseball forced her to sell her controlling interest in the Reds, Schott gave away millions: to schools; to the Boy Scouts; to the zoo; to churches; to animal shelters; to sick children.

Cynics figured she was trying to buy her way into heaven.

Thinking people know that ticket can't be bought.

Please remember, Schott was just a native Cincinnatian. Her comments did not define her complex personality any more than they defined her hometown.

And it's up to the rest of us to make sure things stay that way.

Cincinnati's bigger than Marge Schott. And it should start acting like it.

Bad things happen in big cities, such as New York and Chicago.

In New York, cops have killed unarmed black men. Yet that doesn't keep Alan Kalder, David Letterman's announcer, from reminding viewers that the Late Show comes from New York, "the greatest city in the world."

For years, Chicago suffered through the pig-headed comments and actions of the first Mayor Daley. Yet, the Windy City did not hang its head, plow under Michigan Avenue and turn it into a cornfield. Instead, Chicago rolled up its sleeves and went to work improving its image.

"We like to win arguments around here and not solve problems," said Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken. "We've mea-culpa-ed ourselves enough."

There are better things to do than complain. Such as: take action or make a change for the better.

Griping is fine, if there's an end and a point to it. When it becomes endless and pointless, put it where it belongs: in the past.

The present should be reserved for making a difference. Find fault. But also find a solution.

Schott did both in her life.

Yes, she was one of us. But she was not all of us.

She's gone now. May she rest in peace. And may we profit from her mistakes. That'll make this city better, Honey.

E-mail: cradel@enquirer.com




MARGE SCHOTT FUNERAL
Bronson: Marge reflected best and worst of Cincinnati
Homily for Marge Schott
They all turned out to hail 'a great lady'
And a red-tailed hawk circled high over her gravesite
Players show up to honor 'a good woman'
Radel: Cincinnati can learn a lot listening to Marge Schott

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