Why Some Lists Are Just So Wrong
by Mark Hereford on March 3, 2010

Logging on to Yahoo one evening to check e-mails, there was one of those feature story headlines that caught my attention. Worst Cities to Live In was the title. Forbes had ranked their 20 worst cities in the U.S. to reside. Usually I totally ignore such stories because it’s usually someone’s attempt to totally tick off some city where they had a bad experience or their ex-significant other lives. For some unknown reason, I checked out this particular list. Well, lo and behold, my city was on there. Good old Kansas City, the town that promoted itself as America’s most livable city for years was the 13th most unlivable town. But not for a reason you would believe. My city was there because of its pro sports teams.

That’s right. Besides being a mid-west city with weather extremes, the lack of on field success of the Royals and Chiefs was listed as a main cause. Excuse me. Pardon moi! My fair city, although far from perfect, was unlivable because of lack of pro sports wins. Let’s see. So what Forbes was telling me is your town is less than desirable if your teams blow. So if San Diego, for example, had some bad years from the Chargers or Padres, all those nice beaches and that weather means zilch. Those lean years in Boston when all four teams weren’t exactly racking up the wins about 11 -12 years ago meant the city was to be avoided (New Yorkers, insert your own comments here). Wow, I think not. Basing the quality of a city on the success of sports teams is sheer lunacy.

Where has our perspective gone in 21st century America? Are we so driven as individuals to associate with winners at all costs we no longer see the whole enchilada when it comes to communities or even ourselves? Then again, maybe this is a magazine just printing a list to get folks talking about their magazine and increasing sales. Well, that worked some because it got me to write about it. But it did reinforce one core belief of mine.

Lists in most magazines, they’re just one person’s opinion. They’re hardly the truth and rarely worth the time to read. Well, that is until another snazzy title catches my eye.



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