How often have you heard football announcers talk about how the game is won by blocking and tackling, or maybe by the hard work done in the off-season?
It may be an announcer’s job to point out the obvious. It’s nice when the Bengals are on top and they’re talking about how great we are. It’s almost as if they are talking about Cincy and our community as a whole, suggesting we all had some part in this success.
In this issue we feature Madieu Williams — a Bengals player who has a bright future, both on and off the field — and it’s only fitting in September to talk football and to get ready for the infamous “Battle of Ohio” with the Browns. This season we first take on Cleveland on their turf, on Sept. 16. Most times the winner gains a great advantage going into playoff contention later in the year. Like any great rivalry, however, this game takes on more dimensions. 
This sense of competition across Ohio goes beyond sports. One important contest is the Third Frontier Initiative. Greater Cincinnati, although catching up in this race, unfortunately was caught sleeping for a couple of years. The Cleveland Plain Dealer just reported that halfway through the Third Frontier’s 10-year, $1.6 billion initiative, nearly half the money granted — some $300 million of $633 million — has gone to Northeast Ohio companies and institutions, and much of that to biomedical and bioscience projects.
These programs bring in the high-yield companies, investments and jobs that all regions want. Many in the Statehouse will say they want to first bring these companies to anywhere in Ohio, but don’t expect Team NEO — Northeast Ohio’s business attraction arm — to be talking up the beauty or usefulness of the Ohio River anytime soon.
No doubt, the large universities duke it out, too. Many in Northeast Ohio have no understanding of how large the University of Cincinnati is, or the number of quality programs offered there. With tuition costs rising, students look hard at their in-state options, and the colleges and universities have to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Case Western Reserve touts itself as the Harvard of the Midwest. Does that make any Musketeers grit their teeth?
Our downtowns are both resurging. Cincinnati is finishing the Fountain Square makeover, and we’re already seeing a comeback of elegant restaurants and fun nightlife. Meanwhile, Cleveland’s Euclid Corridor Transportation Project — linking all downtown mass transit — snagged $50 million in state money.
OK, have I riled anyone up yet? It’s more than a game: It’s the Battle of Ohio! New business, young professionals and large dollar grants are some of the prizes up for grabs for those willing to bring their “A” game. This may be hard for some to hear, just like a TV sports analyst repeating the obvious.
The challenge is making everyone here aware of how our Ohio neighbors are vying for these big trophies — and making sure everyone outside our region knows what Cincy has to offer.
So, to those going up to the face-off at Lake Erie this month, let’s be loud come kickoff. There’s an opportunity for both the Bengals and Cincy to shine — that is, so long as the Chicken Dance remains on the field.