The Mayor and The Mayor on sharing peace

We have been asked to coauthor thoughts for 11 Days of Global Unity. The request comes simply as a result of our sharing the label “mayor.” One of us acquired the title via the election process; the other by way of enthusiastic supporters at Hilton Coliseum. Nonetheless, we both proudly, and humbly, embrace the name and the responsibility that entails.

We are keenly aware that the tone set, whether at the microphone in the city council chambers, or the most visible seat on the basketball floor, should make a statement to the entire community. And it is our hope that both of those very public roles can help set a standard worthy of the name “mayor.”

ANN: I am convinced that the atmosphere in the council chambers needs to show respect for differing ideas and thoughts that find the public venue as a forum for the diverse opinions that make Ames a vibrant community. All public discourse needs to take place in an atmosphere of civility and absent personal attacks. We are all in the business of finding the common good.

FRED: A respectful tone and discourse is equally important on the basketball court — or any athletic venue. Sport has evolved into a highly visible and relatively influential part of our society – especially in a town like Ames. Kids follow with great interest what we do on the court. Often they emulate the actions of players on the court. Athletic excellence rooted in respect for the game and fellow competitors is as fundamental as a crisp bounce pass.

ANN: Racial diversity has taken on new meaning in the last few years in Ames. We have seen new residents relocating here for a variety of reasons. Many come from backgrounds far different from those traditional to Ames, Iowa. For some of us, our comfort zone has been challenged.  It takes effort on all our parts – new residents and long-term residents alike —  to make our changing Ames work.

FRED: Diversity is one of the fantastic elements of sports. I have played with, and now have the privilege to coach, individuals from virtually every imaginable background. To win, it is absolutely essential that the entire team works as a fluid unit – both on and off the court. The first step is to understand and respect the varied backgrounds of every individual on the team. We establish lines of communication and dialogue, which build trust – which in turn melds into the chemistry of a winning team.

Increasingly we have come to appreciate the interconnectedness of us all. No mayor, police chief, school teacher, basketball coach, or university president can operate in a vacuum. We all have our niches and need to share and collaborate with one another. Protecting turf doesn’t work. We are proud we have a community whose lifeblood is welcoming thousands of new students, visitors and sports fans each year. Ames can be a showcase. We all need to work to make it just that.

Ann Campbell is the Mayor of Ames.

Fred Hoiberg is known as “The Mayor” by Iowa State University fans. He is the ISU Men’s Basketball Coach.

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