By now we know what happened tomorrow, because it was yesterday. I’m writing on Friday and you’re reading on Sunday, which is after Saturday. There is glory or anguish over an achievement. In either case, I am certain what rings true the loudest today is the song of unbridled effort and the demonstration of no quit. That song is true every day in Wheeling, no matter what day you are reading this or I am writing it.
Whatever the outcome of tomorrow/yesterday, they went (TWB)All In and so did you. Together, each of us, we went ‘All In’ on the potential. All week we saw it, the media coverage, the Facebook posts and shares, 50 different Weelunks or something – and now this one, all telling the story as the kids explain, “TWBAI means family”, over and over. (Somebody please cue ‘Sister Sledge’ and Willie Stargell)
What’s happening is that together we win as a community when we treat each other as family and contribute our best without reservation towards our collective goal to be our best. (That’s TWBAI long form) That’s the win I’m looking for. Way to Wheeling, Wheeling. Way to be Ohio Valley. (It’s been bigger than 26003 this week, especially) Thank you for going ‘All In’ for the kids and for all that’s come before today.
This week, old dividing lines and ‘territory’ were trumped by shared joy and genuine hope for the success of others, even if it didn’t directly benefit us. From times past, we’ve learned that when one of us succeeds it’s good for all of us. We’ve been stringing together individual successes for a while now, with some time gaps in between, to weave a new collection of community accomplishment. That was all before Saturday.
Did you figure it out yet? I quit talking about football. Wheeling is rising.
Hopefully, you read my manifesto last March “Remaking Wheeling: Are You All In?”. If you haven’t, go and do that now, and come back to read on. The article was a love letter of sorts to everyone who is a friend of Wheeling, no matter where you live. It was also an invitation for us to go ‘All In’ to remake Wheeling into our new future, while honoring all that has come before. The article was also a thank you for the efforts that have already been made; a call to action for more innovation; a request for more “Yes’s.” The article also outlined the different kinds of “Yes’s” Wheeling needs to maximize our greatest potential throughout the ongoing reinvention process.
What I couldn’t include in the article then is what I’ve learned in the time since – that our City’s greatest obstacle for future success is turf keeping. Straight up yinz guys, that’s the deal and why I’m writing in hopes that I can implore you to overcome this embedded obstacle.
How do I know? Because when you start asking for “Yes’s” for new projects, new partnerships, new ways of thinking, to leaving behind the ‘this is the way we’ve always done it’, and willingness to try something a little uncertain, you start getting “No’s.” What I’ve learned is the biggest motivation for those near-sighted “No’s” is fear of sharing and yielding even the slightest bit of the established, unproductive territorial boundaries of basically everything. It’s a bad habit we’ve learned folks, as organizations, businesses, governments, even neighborhoods, and education entities in our 30+ years of scarcity and decline (which we’re working together to overcome.)
Turf keeping is a formidable force rooted in the fear of what happens when we share and are not successful. This fear is unfounded because Wheeling is rising. Turf keeping may seem beneficial, but in reality it is what will prevent any organization, business or city from true growth and prosperity. Maintaining of territory is weak positioning that shows fear of losing ground because of a lack of confidence. An entity is strong and secure, and collectively benefits, when it is willing to actively collaborate, partner and share.
What I’ve learned is this: we as a community can get “yes” after “yes” after “yes”. We can innovate and plan. We can resurrect the old and bring in the new. But, we will only be as successful as we are inclusive, cooperative, and willing to yield traditional ‘turf’ as we reinvent Wheeling together. As demonstrated time and again in business, non-profit, and education sectors, to name a few, if those entities are not collaborative partnerships sharing information and resources, creating programs that serve multiple user groups, achieve outcomes with a variety of needs met, and reach goals in multi-disciplines, those efforts are not successful, funded, supported, or sustainable endeavors. The same is true with reinventing our City and place-making.
Wheeling can have some successes, as we have already witnessed, however we will never reach our potential to be the best we can be as a community, without deciding to abandon the old turfs whose purposes are outdated. Wheeling will not become all that it can, unless we all go ‘All In’ together as a community, treating each other as family, contributing our best without reservations, limits, or divisions of territory. We need to adopt and implement TWBAI at large, as we continue remaking Wheeling together.
At every opportunity, we must seek and create partnerships that yield the greatest collective community benefit by developing the most sustainable, diverse economy, urban planning and design solutions cultivated by holistic and inclusive approaches. Strong, successful communities are built on foundations of collaboration by holding nothing back, as we’ve already experienced – TWBAI.
Whatever happened on Saturday, I’m certain you support all of those kids and their successes, not only in playing a game, but also more importantly by living life as a family without reservations. What else are you willing to do after Saturday? Will you go ‘All In’ for Wheeling? Will you help get those “Yes’s,” even create “Yes’s” yourself? Will you decide your turf is at its best when shared, as we build Wheeling together into the strongest, most sustainable, successful community we can be?
You went ‘All In’ for the team, would you be willing to do the same for your city?
After Saturday, are you ‘All In’?
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”
“We can never get a re-creation of community and heal our society without giving our citizens a sense of belonging.” –Patch Adams
Wendy Scatterday, AIA is an architect and sole-proprietor of Scatterday Architecture in Wheeling, West Virginia, as well as the Treasurer of Wheeling Heritage.