Tuesday, June 19, 2007
This is a painting from the OS Museum - The reason why I chose this picture is to illustrate the misconception many people have about Texas, especially West Texas
This was an article that the Avalanche Journal published last month. After you read this article, I will share with you why I made my decision to come to Texas Tech and Lubbock.
Polgar could help put city on the map
DURING THE May 12 Texas Tech commencement ceremony, speaker Susan Polgar surprised many in attendance with an announcement - she will be working with Texas Tech in developing a chess program, the Susan Polgar Institute for Chess Excellence (SPICE).
Ms. Polgar, of course, is more than qualified to run this program. She is the top women's chess player throughout the US and ranked second in the world in 2005.
When people think of Lubbock, they do not immediately equate it with a "chess town." Unfortunately, Lubbock isn't seen as a very sophisticated town in the eyes of many. There are no city chess teams, clubs, or tournaments in Lubbock.
Ms. Polgar hopes to change this perception with her program and the Tech team. Other plans are to research the correspondence between chess and academics, as well as develop new software and hopefully form a winning chess team for Tech.
She saw past the unfair stereotype Lubbock has received and decided this was a city worth taking a chance on.
"Chess is the purest form of strategy out there, period. It does wonders for developing analytical skills and cognitive abilities." said Mad Hatter, owner of Mad Hatter's House of Games. And, yes, for those of you who may not know, that's his name.
"As a former United States Chess Federation (USCF) player I welcome any attempt to promote chess here locally in Lubbock. But, Lubbock in general should be enthusiastic about this endeavor because it will help develop the mental skills required for a successful life amongst Lubbock's youth."
Both Tech and Ms. Polgar have expressed interest in drawing different kinds of students with a chess program, even by offering chess scholarships. Tech recognizes that the kinds of students that will be coming to play chess are exactly the kind of students they want at their school.
Tech is well known for its traditional sports teams, but now we expect they will be among the colleges with a strong chess team as well. This will attract the additional media attention Tech has been vying for as well as draw younger kids to the game of chess.
Ms. Polgar is also known for her work with girls' chess education, and is sure to continue her work with younger generations as well as with Tech students. This program will have more ramifications than Ms. Polgar or Tech has imagined, and will influence the city for the better. The city should thank her for all the opportunities that will be brought our way.
On the Internet: For more information on Polgar, visit her personal blog at http://www.susanpolgar.blogspot.com/, for more information about the Tech program, visit the Tech chess blog at www.texastechchess.blogspot.com.
Is the glass half emptied or half full? That was one of the key factors in my decision.
About 2 years ago, I first visited Lubbock and Texas Tech University on an invitation by Dr. Hal Karlsson, an associate professor at Tech, the chess guy on campus.
I have to admit that I knew little about this city. But one thing I learned when I was a young girl is never to judge a book by its cover.I immediately did some research about the city. I was intrigued by what I read and I was especially interested in knowing more about the University.
So I decided to accept Dr. Karlsson’s invitation and called him personally instead of having my business manager handle the details. I think I shocked him with this call.
But anyway, the time came for me to visit Lubbock. I was so impressed by the enthusiasm and energy of the local residents, media and staff at Tech that I decided to come back the second time around a year later, this time with both of my young sons.
In between the two visits, I received an invitation by the President of Texas Tech to be the commencement speaker on May 12th of this year. Each time I came back to Lubbock, I became more and more attached to the city. In addition, when Dr. Karlsson told me about the idea of SPICE, I fell in love with it right away.
The final thing that made me want to relocate to Lubbock is when I asked my boys Tommy and Leeam about what they thought of Lubbock, Texas, they shouted simultaneously “I love it!”
When I asked them what they think about living in Lubbock, they both jumped and down and said “Yes! Yes! Yes!” Then they asked if we could move right away.
I wanted to know what they like about this city. They told me “Everything!” from the weather, the schools (they visited one of the local schools during the trip), the university (they both said that Tech is so cool) to the people (they said everyone was so nice) and they kept on raving about Lubbock.
This was the moment when I was convinced that this is the right move. When I posted about the idea of SPICE, Texas Tech and the city of Lubbock on my blogs and website, a number of negative comments were made ranging from, “What’s Lubbock?”, “Where’s Lubbock?”, “Why Lubbock?”, “Are you crazy?” to “There’s nothing in Lubbock!”
I was quite upset when I read these remarks. Most if not all of these people probably know very little or anything about Texas Tech or Lubbock. It is very wrong to be prejudice about anything or anyone. This is a similar pattern that I experienced in chess throughout my entire life and I took them head on every time.
My husband and I enjoy every city and every town we visit. Each has something unique to offer. Each has its own charm. This is why we are always puzzled as to why people seem to find negative things to say instead of focusing on the positive stuff.
I know that my husband and I are “the new kids in town” but we are determined to change this. We are very proud and happy to be a part of the community and the Texas Tech family and we want to tell the world how much we love this city and university.
We look at this a glass half full. We see this as a place with so much to offer and we would love to be a part of the cavalry and work with everyone to change and improve the image of Lubbock and Tech, especially for the benefits of chess and education. Remember, you can never judge the book by its cover and we love this book.