Style Points

This afternoon the Ohio State Buckeyes beat Illinois on the road, 60-35.  The win left the Buckeyes 10-0 and winners of 22 games in a row.

But, for commentators, winning just isn’t enough these days.  Sure, the Buckeyes won . . . butBut, Illinois stinks.  But, the Big Ten stinks.  But, the Buckeyes let Illinois score 35 points.  But, the Buckeyes led by less than two scores in the fourth quarter before putting the game away.  But, the Ohio State offense had to punt the ball more than they have in weeks.  But, but, but!

IMG_1815To the ESPN commentators, college football these days is all about “style points.”  If you’re not one of the top two teams in the BCS rankings, just winning isn’t enough.  You’ve got to pulverize your opponent, grinding them into the ground while at the same time showing the speed, skill, and flair that might cause wary voters to think that you belong on the same field as one of the top two teams.  And if you give up 35 points to a dreadful team like Illinois, well, you’re just not cutting it in the style category.

This all seems very silly to me, and largely a media effort to stir up pointless controversy and increase their ratings and website hits.  Oregon won with a lot of style . . . until they got manhandled.  Clemson showed a lot of style . . . until they got trounced.  I’d rather see the Buckeyes try to work on things and continue to improve — and win, of course — rather than just trying to score as many points as they possibly can.

Just win, baby!  Win, and let the chips fall where they may.  There are still a lot of games to be played, and talking about “style points” seems awfully premature.

Pocket Hospitals

My doctor is a big believer in preventative medicine.  He’s also a bargain shopper.  Even though I have no symptoms of heart problems, he’s been after me to have a heart scan to perform “calcium scoring” and determine whether there are plaque deposits that might cause a problem in the future.  When he heard I could have the procedure performed for only $95, he really encouraged it.

IMG_1603So, yesterday morning I drove to the Ohio Health Westerville medical campus off Polaris Parkway on the north side of Columbus.  The facility is in one of those buildings you see around large cities throughout the nation — trim and brick, three stories, spread out, with lots of free parking.  I’d made a reservation, so I walked right in to a bright and spacious reception area, paid my $95, filled out a form, and was escorted to a room that featured one big piece of high technology equipment.  I stretched out on a platform without having to remove any clothing, a friendly technician attached a few electrodes underneath my shirt, and the machine then moved me back and forth through a spinning circular device and instructed me on when to hold my breath as x-ray pictures of my heart and lungs were taken.

There are ways to hold down health care costs, and this facility is one of them.  It’s in an area where land is cheap.  It offers a few services — I saw an emergency room, a surgery center, and the x-ray and scanning suite as I walked in — but doesn’t try to provide every form of care that a person might possibly need.  It competes with other providers, which helps to keep costs down.  In Columbus, there are dozens of these little pocket hospitals where you can go to have a scan, a colonoscopy, or arthroscopic surgery on your elbow, among other forms of routine health care activities.  The pocket hospitals employ hundreds of doctors, nurses, technicians, receptionists, and other staffers.

Yesterday the whole process took about 20 minutes from start to finish, and then I was out the door and headed to work.  It was cheap, easy, and convenient.  How often do you end up saying that after your encounters with the American health care system?