January – that time of year when television and
newspapers are full of sports events. It could be your
favorite hockey team, stumbling about in near obscurity!
Ah, but a win over one of the biggies could put the
dear lads back in your hearts. Or it could be some young
lad out of the hills of West Virginia who sends the
hair up on your neck, as he quarterbacks his team to
a deadline finish of 21 – 22.
....Sports are a big part
of the North American scene in today’s living,
and the young men who rise to fame on the field, ice
or courts are possibly more talked about than were the
great movie starts of yesteryear. With such palaces
to play in as the new Stadium at B.C. Place in Vancouver
it’s no wonder young fellas today look to sports
as a great way of life.
....A pitcher from the
New York Yankees is signed for over $9 million by a
team in sunny San Diego. Another young one is breaking
every record in the book as he hockey sticks his way
to fame and fortune for a prairie town in Canada.
....Young men are handled
by agents that hover over their stars and would-be stars,
seeing that they get the best in life that mega-bucks
can buy. They are today’s young gladiators –
admired as were the young gladiators of Rome in it’s
....We the public play
a constant tune to these muscular young chaps, and our
love-hate relationship with them is of course well orchestrated
by the faithful media writers. Hail the conquering hero!
And et tu Brutus!
....If you’re wondering
what all this has to do with a subject such as the forest
around us, please give this humble
writer a moment
to explain. I am not against such exiting events as are seen
by 80 million viewers – live and direct from somewhere.
....I cheer, get miffed and argue
with umpires through a glass tube also (silly, isn’t
it). But wait half a mo’ – what’s going
on here – just who are these multi-millionaire buck
heroes that you and I are yelling for?
....Just what have these thousands
of tv jocks done to make our living a little better? Are they
produces or are they expensive toys that we the public pay
through the nose for? Haven’t we got our priorities
a wee bit mixed? Let’s look at it.
....Our basic industries here
in Canada will never get enough highly skilled people to really
make a great change to operating costs – or our management
– labor relationship or our handling of safety matters,
unless, we start to divert of this mass attention from our
million dollar heroes to our bread and butter chaps, who toil
their days in quiet unnoticed heroics.
....I’ll keep more specific
and stick with our forest industry across Canada and try to
make my point.
....Companies today will buy
a $.5 million to $1 million rig to harvest trees from the
stump. These machines take on may forms of sophistication
but they are all expensive and they all need people to run
them and maintain them and to serve their every desire.
....We need good coaches, er,
foremen to keep all these iron monsters in hand and to make
sure they don’t get in-volved with that evil word “downtime.”
....We need highly qualified
mechanics to doctor these giant iron spiders of hydraulic
hoses and maximized horse-
power. And, not
being satisfied with just day-light work, because of their high
cost, we load them up with expensive candlepower and let them do
their thing like a Frankenstein monster in the moonlight.
....The forest industry – its
big and its small – is not seemingly prepared to recognize
the need for higher qualified people, better training establishments,
and an approach to searching for talent that is found in the so-called
“big leagues”. Oh sure there are those few standout
companies that go a step farther than the rest – but I speak
of an industry that is still not ready to put down the bucks for
our needed forestry education systems.
....The sports industry knows the value
of sports education. They know you can’t have a well co-ordinated
hero unless you start spending when he is young – real young
....Look at it this way. If you have
one or a closet full of these wonderful iron aides that produce
terrific results, if handled properly, shouldn’t you want
only the very best people around that multi-monster? Shouldn’t
you feed it with the talents of highly trained personnel to cater
to its maximum comforts while it whirls its wheels.
....When these chunks feel ill and
need prescription potions, and oils of vim and vigor for their vitality,
shouldn’t you be able to call on a doctor or mechanic who
know the prognosis and can stir up the needed elixir.
....Doesn’t this seem reasonable?
Then let’s take a look at what this industry is doing to train
its people of the forest for the high-tech logging of tomorrow.
....Forest faculties, such as our University
of B.C. has, are being cut