Friday, October 2, 2009

Meatballs and Master Plans

For the second week in a row, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs topped the country’s box office charts. It’s an animated flick about a guy (Flint Lockwood - honest) who invents a way to turn water into food which he hopes will solve the world’s hunger problem. Instead, of course, stuff happens and his plan goes awry in a big way and hence, the title of the movie.

The title reminded me of the 1979 Bill Murray film Meatballs which is set at a lakeside summer camp (Camp North Star) and has one of my favorite movie scenes of all time. Murray plays the cool, prank-prone, head counselor Tripper Harrison. He is called upon by the nerdy, clueless, camp director to give their less-than-athletic young campers a stirring pep talk after they have fallen way behind following the first day of the annual two-day Olympiad against the mean and much wealthier kids from the rival, and, of course, often cheating, Camp Mohawk.

Instead of pulling out all the stops with a “Win One for The Gipper” type speech (1940 film Knute Rockne – All American), Tripper tells the campers that it really doesn’t matter what happens the next day at the Olympiad because the Mohawk campers are still going to get all the good-looking girls and guys because they’re rich.

This, of course, is clever, scripted, reverse psychology which riles up the campers who begin to chant, slowly at first and then with greater and greater enthusiasm, “it just doesn’t matter; It Just Doesn’t Matter; IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER; IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER”.

But of course it mattered so the klutzy, but fired-up, kids from Camp North Star go out the next day and win the Olympiad with a come-from-behind victory in the final and deciding event.

Thirty years later, here at “Camp UIC”, we are working on a Camp(us) Master Plan which will lay out a vision of what this place will look and feel like 25-30 years into the future.

Some people might say it just doesn’t matter – it’ll be what it’ll be.

It just doesn’t matter – we’ll never have the money to do any of it.

It Just doesn’t matter – it’s fine the way it is – leave well enough alone.

It Just Doesn’t matter – I’ll be long gone.

It Just Doesn’t Matter – no one will ever read it.


But of course it matters.

Without a plan, there is no direction. Without a direction, we can’t look forward. If we can’t look forward, we can only stagnate. If we stagnate, we die. If we die, we will have created a self-fulfilling prophesy and then – only then – it just didn’t matter.

Question of the week: What would be the one thing that you would want the Master Plan types to address?

Until next Friday…


  1. I would like most for the Master Plan to address the poor connections between the east and west campuses. And also the poor signage that should clearly identify a building and its contents, which current signs do not.

  2. I really like the idea proposed to open up the Lecture Center Plaza, and make it a more expansive quad with water. Programming some of the outdoor space - with a band shell in the SEO garden, or something similar would go a long way for creating some wow spaces.


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