A Trip Into Fantasy Awakens Us To The Realities Of The Here-And-Now

There are moments when the world of fantasy reminds us of just how much the real world needs our most earnest efforts. Now, where on earth would that reality emerge? How about on a trip to Phoenix to see superheroes?

The Comicon experience at the beginning of June, 2016, was such an event. Both the kids and parents enjoy superhero and science-fiction type movies and the creativity behind them.

Our family had never gone to a Comicon event, so it was a big eye-opener. People go all out!

From the replica movie vehicles parked outside of the Phoenix Convention Center to the costumes worn by attendees, this was a constant head-turner. Best vehicle: the DeLorean tricked-out to duplicate that of Back to the Future.

The best costume was a body-builder type dressed up as the villain Bane from Batman. There were many other fantastic costumes that would have passed in the best films made. Over-stimulation was the word of the day. We could have stayed longer but in some ways it was over-indulgence, like the sensation one has walking around Vegas.

My geek side loved the event but my practical side was cynical. About three hours into our family trip, I said to my son, “This is why we are headed in the wrong direction in this country.” I was only half-joking.

“So many are so fixated with pretending to be something they are not, either online or at a show like this, that the real world work has come to a halt,” I said.

Now, I know that sounds like an old grandpa, but I think there is grumpy old-man truth, the kind one witnesses while seeing all those old people in Las Vegas wasting time and life pulling those slot handles, awaiting the moments of winning thrill.

All that effort could be going into something worthwhile and meaningful. Having said that, I do think that creativity is as or more important than intelligence but I also believe that drive, a certain amount of ambition, and balance is even more important. I am hoping that most of my fellow geeks at the Convention have some of the later as I do know they enjoy some of the former.

We discussed our experience at the convention on the way home and my 18 year old son said, “Dad, what’s up with Tucson?”

What did he mean? In effect, his observations was about how clean and cool — not in temperature– Phoenix appeared to be in comparison with Tucson.

The Phoenix Suns Stadium, Chase Field, and lots of other interesting and neat things were all downtown and within walking distance of where we parked. Why does Tucson seem so dead in comparison? That was the question.
Wow, what an observation! It doesn’t take much to see it either.

Tucson is known to be business-unfriendly but it is also a city that is and has been run incompetently for years. The county is no less culpable so I will include some of their incompetence, as well, as we are in the same community.

My opinion is irrelevant; the facts will speak for themselves.

Facts like building the baseball stadium where it is instead of where it could have made a difference — downtown. This scandal alone should have cost people their jobs, or put them in jail, but the reasons why have never fully come out perhaps because people just don’t care.

Other examples:

· Having the Federal building built where it is (the best piece of commercial land in the City and where the baseball field should have gone)

· Building a skyscraper without parking

· Losing spring-training

· The Rio Nuevo debacle

· Stiff-arming Grand Canyon College

· Frustrating countless commercial endeavors-like the McDonalds at 22nd and Alvernon

· Misappropriating road money and the current condition of our roads

· Doing things that local government should not be doing-too many examples to fit!-while ignoring their primary functions-like roads

· Trying to have us float them a stimulus bond to get the local economy going (as opposed to real changes that could actually help our economy boom, like getting the $%$###! out of our way!)

· Rosemont Copper mine debacle. It doesn’t matter even if you are against the mine; what matters is the fashion in which entrepreneurs have been treated. (Lots of other businesses will surely want to receive that same rudeness.)

· A culture of road-blocks and delays instead of assistance and service

All the above and much more combine to aggravate our local reality.


This is not fiction. Many don’t care. Many others actually like the way things are in order to help stop growth and opportunity for Tucsonans. They are the ones who already have their share and don’t care a bit about the American dream for others.

My son is not a world-traveler but he could tell something was up with Tucson form just walking another city’s streets. The problems we have here have been created by a long-train of abuses by the leaders we have chosen or those appointed by that leadership. Correcting these issues will not happen overnight but it is high-time we started heading in the right direction.

Let’s encourage our local leaders to take off their Underoos, stop pretending and start the real work needed in our community.

About Jeff Utsch 30 Articles
Jeff Utsch is a Leadership and History Instructor at the Leadership and Freedom Center in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where he teaches leadership lessons learned from the battle and forging trusted teams and leaders. Jeff also teaches professional development and "leading with a purpose" courses to law enforcement and other agencies around the country. He is the Founder of Heirs of the Republic Educational Foundation a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to “Securing the Blessings of Liberty to Ourselves and Our Posterity.” He previously served as a Director and Ambassador for the Navy SEAL Foundation, where he assisted in establishing an endowment within the Foundation. At the Foundation, Jeff chaired the Development Committee and organized and assisted with benefit galas in Tucson, AZ, Coronado, CA, and Virginia Beach, VA. He also has 27 years’ experience as President and CEO of a small company and 25 years’ experience training U.S. military personnel. Jeff graduated from University of Arizona in 1991 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering, where he also served as captain of the Swim Team. During his swimming career, Jeff was a member of the US National Team 1984-87, Top 10 World Rankings 1984-1988, and NCAA All-American in 1988. Using the skills, he developed as an All-American swimmer and Captain of the University of Arizona swim team, Jeff currently serves as an Instructor to the Navy SEALS/Naval Special Warfare community where he teaches Navy SEALS and support personnel specialized tactical swimming. In addition, Jeff has taught Air Force Para Rescue Jumpers, Combat Controllers, Force Recon Marines, Coast Guard MSST, and other military personnel.