Impossible Game Defines The Possible

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Don’t be dumb. Be realistic.

Don’t be foolish. Be reasonable.

After all, Payson’s just a pit stop on the way to somewhere else. The economy sucks. Business is faltering. No one’s going to build a college here. Real estate values will never come back. We’ll just have to get used to a future defined by food banks and potholes.

Oh, yeah. And no way some little school in the sticks is going to win a state championship.

And definitely, if you get down 7-0 in the last inning of a playoff game against a tough opponent — well, you ought to just get your stuff together so you can get out of the parking lot as quietly as possible after you lose.

All very sensible.

But one word of advice. Don’t try to tell that to the Lady Longhorns softball team. They’ll either laugh — or throw something at you: And these girls throw hard.

These remarkable girls taught us all something on Saturday in the course of one of the most deliriously improbable comeback games ever played.

The Mingus Marauders had bullied the faltering Lady Horns all morning, racking up a score of 7-0 by the time Payson came up to bat — almost certainly for the last time in a fairy tale season.

But a funny thing happened when those girls found themselves with their backs against the wall — they hit, bunted, slid, scurried, hit and hit and hit again. Catcher Taylor Petersen shook off her slump and hit a grand slam home run. Then pitcher Arianna Paulson went back out to the mound and shut down the opposing batters — setting the stage for the Lady Longhorns’ one-run victory in the extra inning.

Now, we certainly hope that the district will provide a fan bus for Friday and Saturday, so we can go down there and give these girls of spring the audience they deserve.

But in the meantime, the best game in the best season of the best softball team ever have taught us all one thing for certain.

Only fools give up.

And it’s dumb to be reasonable.

Get out there and play your heart out, Payson: The best lies just ahead.

Last chance for ASU

Lamentably, the long, hopeful effort to convince Arizona State University to operate a campus here has come to a final, long-shot offer. Until now, ASU has insisted on unworkable financial terms, perhaps reflecting its own struggle with the withering of legislative support for our hard-pressed universities.

Reportedly, the Rim Country Educational Alliance board has authorized a final, take-it-or-leave-it offer. We hope ASU takes it, perhaps buoyed by the Legislature’s freshly enacted promise to equalize funding among the three state universities. That will boost ASU’s bottom line substantially in the next few years.

We hope ASU understands that the Alliance isn’t just offering to build a small, branch campus: It’s offering to build an exciting, high-tech prototype for a state college system the students of this state desperately need.

The Alliance’s approach gives ASU a way to build a network of four-year, low-tuition colleges throughout the state that would remain intimately connected to ASU’s marvelous graduate programs.

We know now the Legislature will never provide the money needed to build a state college system. So if ASU or the University of Arizona don’t seize this opportunity, expensive, private, colleges will rush into the state to fill the gap — and provide the near-doubling of degrees we’ll need to offer in the next 20 years if Arizona has any chance of thriving economically.

But after four years of frustration, the Alliance can’t wait any longer. If ASU does not see the benefits of the partnership, then it’s time to move on — and quickly.

We hope the Alliance can then find another public university partner. That’s the best way to keep tuition within reach of the hopeful, hard-working kids graduating each year from places like Payson High School.

But the Alliance and its visionary supporters have swallowed all the delays this community can afford.

It’s time to start building.

We hope ASU feels the same.

But either way: The time has come.

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