When PaddleSports Go Politicking
On Oct. 4th, a clear winner was anointed following the Vice - Presidential Debate in Farmville , Va. It wasn't Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. It wasn't their surrogates, the VP candidates - Mike Pence or Tim Kaine, who debated in front of the cameras and the community. It wasn't Democrats or Republicans, or even Libertarians. It was Longwood University.
The folks who had worked tirelessly over the course of many long months to bring this national event to fruition had pulled it off in spectacular fashion. But it wasn't just Longwood that won the night. Our little town of Farmville showed it's best side as well. Longwood University and the larger Farmville community reminded everyone, for one night at least, that we can have a debate and still bring our love, our respect and our civility to the table. And it can all be quite fun!
As a small family paddlesports shop we don't wade into the murky waters of politics, but when the American political media machine came to town, we all jumped in with enthusiasm. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. Everyone from the shop took turns going to Longwood to cruise the campus and witness the excitement. But security knew better than to let some get too close to the action. :)
It was very cool to walk around and soak it all in. I did a couple of Live FB Videos from campus so people could get a sense of it. There were tons of political signs and posturing, but I never witnessed anything ugly or rude. I did, however, find time to pose down with both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. But as you can see, I stood firmly in the middle.
MSNBC, CNN and Fox News were all set up on campus and media from all across the nation found their way to Farmville. The whole event was extremely family friendly and it was awesome to walk around and see the community come out, smiling and having a blast with the whole event.
My girls got to get their faces painted in the Jubilee area early on the morning of the debate, and then we ventured back out in the evening to witness the pre-debate hype. There was a big #LongwoodDebate screen up and it was cool to see #Paddleva representing above Stubbs Lawn.
As the night sky enveloped campus, we decided to head for home to put our girls to bed and settle in for the actual politics of the event. What transpired on TV between the two candidates paled in comparison to the amazing display of awesomeness I'd seen around Farmville, and Longwood earlier in the day. This contentious election is 19 days away from being over. Tonight is the last (thank God) debate of the election. In the days that follow I hope to embody the example set in Farmville, as our hometown hosted the VP Debate. Let us show the world what it is to be civil, respectful, and kind in our democratic enthusiasm.
There were people out on OCT 4th, advocating for their candidates, but I saw many more folks just out to have fun and experience the gift that is democracy. We have a beautiful country comprised of beautiful people, who understand that to disagree does not necessitate hate. Democracy in action does not warrant any vitriolic fervor. As I walked the streets of Farmville, and the campus of Longwood University, I saw a sea of smiling faces, children playing, and peaceful displays of differing opinion. I saw love and pride, in community, in America.
So, when Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton take the stage tonight and begin to sling mud, keep yourself clear of the debris. Be like Longwood University, and shine your light of intellect, passion, and civility, for all the world to see.
On Oct 4th, the candidates did their thing, but it was Longwood University and Farmville that REALLY did their thang! Well done to everyone!
Across the river, on the short side of town, we here at Appomattox River Company were all beaming with pride in our community.