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'It's good to finally put a good face on Youngstown'

By Todd Franko (Contact)


Published August 28, 2008

The girl's voice seemed pretty chipper as it was broadcast across the Y-103 airwaves this morning.

"It's good to finally put a good face on Youngstown," she said.

She made the comment Wednesday at the pep rally at the Chevy Centre for Kelly Pavlik, who will take on challenger Bernard Hopkins Oct. 18.

Hopkins joined Pavlik Wednesday at the Chevy Centre, as did many heavyweights of the boxing industry, including Pavlik's promoter, Bob Arum — who is to boxing what Oprah is to talk shows and Donald Trump is to business.

Kelly is a good face for Youngstown, but so are many other things — should we choose to focus on something other than the weeds and blemishes that also surround us.

There are many great things we would see right now:

•Kelly's on top.

•Lordstown is on top as a facility, and as a job source.

•Its car, the Cobalt, is sexy in the sales races. Its successor, the Cruze, looks like a fantastic car.

•Downtown Youngstown has a great new workforce with Turning Technologies and a handful of other ventures in the business incubator, (or you could call it Cossler Castle after its director, Jim, who is optimism personified).

You could find more if you looked more closely.

You could offer that the valley's so good, a Russian firm jumped in on WCI Steel.

Negativity is contagious. But so is success.

Look at the Indians — 10 straight wins after a dismal first half. Good things got contagious for them.

Success becomes a matter of rising up; of aspiring to be something greater by capitalizing on what works.

To do so, you can't wallow in what hasn't worked. Doing so is too easy for some people.

I have not had the privilege of living here for years or decades. I've been here long enough to rotate the tires on my car once.

Admitting such is likely cause for some who've lived through many valley pains to say "What the heck do you know, we ...." (and fill in many of the weeds or wounds that we've had.)

The privilege I have had is living in several towns from New York to Nebraska over the last 20 years. Each of those places has had rough tales in many ways — some as rough as it's been here, others rougher, others not so.

But what each place had, as I recall vividly, is a community comfort anchored by an ability to compartmentalize the bad things, the rough things — and maintain an optimism that the whole was not as bad as the worst part.

The valley – with all of its challenges – is not as bad as its worst parts. The sooner we believe it, the sooner we capitalize on it.

It's why I have a admiration for Team Pavlik as they go about their new role of Youngstown ambassadors. It's a job they've had for less than a year. But when you talk to the guys, they have all had a lifetime of valley living and they tout what is great about the area because of an ability to compartmentalize the challenges.

The valley has a good face. It's always had one. Sure — it's a face with wrinkles here and there. But so are the faces of most cities in America.

When we look at our face, we have to see the life waiting to be lived, as well as see the wrinkles of days gone by.


Comments

1lucy(123 comments)posted 5 years, 7 months ago

Todd, I enjoyed reading this piece. The wrinkled face analogy works well, and I appreciated the perspective of someone who hasn't always lived here. Nicely done.

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