opinion: Stadium should not be the deal-breaker for Big House Big Heart
Like many, I was saddened to learn that the Big House Big Heart race was canceled. When the event was introduced six years ago, I applauded the innovation.
Joseph Tobianski I AnnArbor.com
I had worked with many nonprofits which used small running events to raise funds for charitable purposes. Time and again I heard concerns about the resources required to produce even a small run, and the relatively modest payoffs for the charities. BHBH offered the opportunity to raise funds without the burden of actually producing a race. Others would do that for them. It’s not surprising how popular this event became among local charities.
What is surprising is the cancellation of this event — apparently based solely on the decision by the U-M Athletic Department to withdraw access to their stadium as the finishing line.
Some have compared athletic director Dave Brandon to Scrooge for this decision. I’ll reserve judgment on that. But if the analogy is apt, then, like Scrooge, he has taken away the trappings of Christmas. He has taken the tree.
But that is all he has done.
Dr. Seuss made a more important point. On Christmas morning the good people of WhoVille gathered around a tree that was no longer there. It was not the tree that caused Christmas to come - it was the hearts of the people.
I know many runners, and running event organizers. I know most of them to be good people, and I want to believe that Michigan Stadium means no more to them than that tree in the Seuss classic. Charities, runners, and the organizers at Champions For Charity would all do well to find another finish line to gather around. The enormous good this event generates in our community demands it.
If upon witnessing that, any hearts grow bigger on South State Street, then maybe someone will bring the tree back.
But if they don’t, Christmas will still have come. As a community, we can still make that happen, with or without the Big House.
Jeff Herron is the publisher of Outdoor Athlete Magazine.