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krazeeboi

SC Cities: Ideal for Young Professionals?

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I was chatting with a friend tonight who went to USC, then relocated to another fairly large city in the South (I will refrain from naming the city so as to not make this a "versus" thread). He stated that one reason for his move was that Columbia in particular was an unsuitable city for young professionals (among many other things). I know we touched on this in another thread. So how do you think our cities fare as far as being a place for young professionals to develop in their chosen careers?

I was originally going to ask this in regards to just Columbia but decided to expand the topic to include all of SC's cities, so Spartan can you move this thread to the general SC board? Thanks.

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That's an interesting statement. Did he give any reasons? Columbia hasa good nightlife, it's conveniently located and has good job opportunities and one of the most educated populaces in the country. What else do you need?

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Well, for one he said that after he graduated he couldn't find a job in Columbia, but when he first arrived at the city he now resides in, he found one the first day (he works in a bank). I also mentioned state government, but he spoke of state budget cuts and things like that. He also mentioned that if the area truly had resources, then the economy and job climate wouldn't be in the state that it is in. He also spoke of the low rankings in education that SC receives. He also mentioned a "lack of culture" in Columbia....I didn't really get a chance to explore that criticism in-depth but I can't see where that one comes from. But those are the main gripes he has with Columbia and with SC.

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Oh well can't please everyone but I guess it just depends on what your looking for or what opportunities are availible to you. If you are a lawyer Columbia would be an ideal marker because it has the highest amount of lawyers percapita, but then again I guess it could be saturated. I'm a healthcare professinal so I can find work in pretty much any city all I look for is does it have an active nightlife, can I ride my mtn. bike within an hour trip, does it have good interstate access, & how educated are the local yocals. That's usually my criteria when I criticize cities. I had a friend who said something similiar about Columbia as well. He said Columbia doesn't have anything for young professionals, I asked him where had he been, and he said 5points, so I said well go to the Vista. My point was sometimes you have too be willing to try new things, you can't sit back and expect young professionals to just notice and hang out with you, and if Cola isn't to your liking than so be it, there are tons of great towns out there. But I don't think it lacks? There are tons of things to do in Cola with very little effort finding (Lake Murray, Harbison St. Forest, Vista, river canoeing, Congaree Natl. Park, Koger Ctr. St. Museum, Cola art Museum, Shopping, etc... Me personally I just think my friend was unhappy with living in Cola and just wanted to move back home closer to his family and friends, but that was just my take on it ;)

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As a SC native and USC alum who left SC for Atlanta because of the job market primarily (I was ready to try a bigger city too in a way), I think the job market is a key issue that drives many USC and Clemson grads to the booming metros in NC and GA (especially of course Charlotte, the Triangle, and Atlanta). If you are in certain professional services fields (lawyer, doctor, and such), you can probably stay in SC just fine. Heck, you can even stay in small town SC if that is your preference. Of if you are coming into a family business or starting a small business, you can stay in SC. But if you are in IT, accounting, and other service fields like that, it does get dicy to stay in Columbia or elsewhere in SC and really advance in your career. My brother for example is in IT and worked for the state government in Columbia after graduating from USC. But after a few years, he moved on to guess where--the Triangle. Why? He wanted better job opportunities. His wife now wants to attend a graduate program at USC, but my brother's problem is that he would almost certainly take a significant pay cut to return to Columbia. There just are not the same level of jobs in terms of the sheer number, the pay scales, and the level of companies. I think Columbia has decent enough options for things to do--the Vista for example has become a happening place for the young post-college and post-Little Five Points crowd. Columbia has plenty of youthful hipness or whatever. I mean really, most of Atlanta's young population winds up in bland suburban settings anyway. And it certainly is cheaper to live in Columbia. And you do not have hour commutes generally in Columbia. The issue is jobs. There are of course other motivating factors. For example, Atlanta attracts a lot of young African-Americans with its large and prosperous and well-connected black community. Likewise, it attracts a lot of young gay people from surrounding southern states (especially the single ones) wanting more social life options or just a more tolerant atmosphere. Some people just want a different setting. But I still think jobs are the real issue for Columbia and other cities in SC. And I do not have an answer. Maybe the research campus at USC will stem some of the outflow. Essentially, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Atlanta gain human economic development resources that SC pays to educate. It's a bum deal for SC.

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As a SC native and USC alum who left SC for Atlanta because of the job market primarily (I was ready to try a bigger city too in a way), I think the job market is a key issue that drives many USC and Clemson grads to the booming metros in NC and GA (especially of course Charlotte, the Triangle, and Atlanta). If you are in certain professional services fields (lawyer, doctor, and such), you can probably stay in SC just fine. Heck, you can even stay in small town SC if that is your preference. Of if you are coming into a family business or starting a small business, you can stay in SC. But if you are in IT, accounting, and other service fields like that, it does get dicy to stay in Columbia or elsewhere in SC and really advance in your career. My brother for example is in IT and worked for the state government in Columbia after graduating from USC. But after a few years, he moved on to guess where--the Triangle. Why? He wanted better job opportunities. His wife now wants to attend a graduate program at USC, but my brother's problem is that he would almost certainly take a significant pay cut to return to Columbia. There just are not the same level of jobs in terms of the sheer number, the pay scales, and the level of companies. I think Columbia has decent enough options for things to do--the Vista for example has become a happening place for the young post-college and post-Little Five Points crowd. Columbia has plenty of youthful hipness or whatever. I mean really, most of Atlanta's young population winds up in bland suburban settings anyway. And it certainly is cheaper to live in Columbia. And you do not have hour commutes generally in Columbia. The issue is jobs. There are of course other motivating factors. For example, Atlanta attracts a lot of young African-Americans with its large and prosperous and well-connected black community. Likewise, it attracts a lot of young gay people from surrounding southern states (especially the single ones) wanting more social life options or just a more tolerant atmosphere. Some people just want a different setting. But I still think jobs are the real issue for Columbia and other cities in SC. And I do not have an answer. Maybe the research campus at USC will stem some of the outflow. Essentially, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Atlanta gain human economic development resources that SC pays to educate. It's a bum deal for SC.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

You're right. I am a recent grad of USC and hold an IT degree. I am currently working in Columbia at a telecom company, but I do feel the need to relocate to either of our big city neighbors. I like SC, but our progess seems a little slow and I can't sit and wait any longer for us to start agressively progressing.

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So what are the "booming" career fields out there now, the ones that those of the "creative class" flock to? I received my bachelors in biology and will eventually go on to get an advanced degree in public health, so for me I think I could pretty much settle down anywhere; every city has public health issues. Of course, there's the CDC in Atlanta, but I don't think I'd want to live there (unless the pay was a figure I just couldn't turn down).

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But if you are in IT, accounting, and other service fields like that, it does get dicy to stay in Columbia or elsewhere in SC and really advance in your career. My brother for example is in IT and worked for the state government in Columbia after graduating from USC. But after a few years, he moved on to guess where--the Triangle. Why? He wanted better job opportunities. There just are not the same level of jobs in terms of the sheer number, the pay scales, and the level of companies. I think Columbia has decent enough options for things to do--the Vista for example has become a happening place for the young post-college and post-Little Five Points crowd. Columbia has plenty of youthful hipness or whatever. I mean really, most of Atlanta's young population winds up in bland suburban settings anyway. And it certainly is cheaper to live in Columbia. And you do not have hour commutes generally in Columbia. The issue is jobs. There are of course other motivating factors. For example, Atlanta attracts a lot of young African-Americans with its large and prosperous and well-connected black community. Likewise, it attracts a lot of young gay people from surrounding southern states (especially the single ones) wanting more social life options or just a more tolerant atmosphere. Some people just want a different setting. But I still think jobs are the real issue for Columbia and other cities in SC. And I do not have an answer. Maybe the research campus at USC will stem some of the outflow. Essentially, Raleigh, Charlotte, and Atlanta gain human economic development resources that SC pays to educate. It's a bum deal for SC.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Being African-American I remember growing up and always wanting to move to Atlanta it just seemed like the next logical step, big city large afluent black population, etc... Anyway yeah there aren't many jobs in SC now that can attract many of the "creative class" but I know USC and ICAR as well as Aiken are working on that. I know the purpose of the reaserch campus is to keep funneling SC best and brightest to places like ATL, CLT, & RDU. I don't have the answer either when I was younger and even now to some extent I feel like someone had suggested earlier I can't wait for SC to aggressively catch-up so I left to find what I liked now (I'm still looking). But my point is there is no reason any of the SC big three should be harvesting the best and brightest in the state, they have the same building materials our neighbors had 20 years ago its just that it seems SC didn't bother to use them. Another thing that I found interesting about SC cities was that we were so content at being #1 in SC that we didn't strive for a national pressance. Today it seems SC cities are starting to realize that being#1 in SC holds about as much weight as a wet paper towel so now the focus is more on getting your name know nationally (ie the research campus, ICAR, etc.).

I like the new name change by the way! The Riverbanks Region!

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I agree Sandlapper. SC missed the boat early on while NC had a vision. Now SC has a vision thankfully, but it will take years for it to really pan out if it does at all. And that does not help anyone now.

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South Carolina doesn't necessarily have as many top jobs that other areas do, but its alot better than some rust belt areas. As far as banking jobs are concerned, I work for a Credit Union and we struggle to find ENOUGH employees. You would think with the big bank mergers there would be lots of people with a banking background looking for jobs, but we have a heck of a time finding enough people.

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First, young professionals are great for cities. Companies love them because they can work longer hours than their older, married counterparts. They demand less in benefits (esp costly dependent health care), and are more flexible in most cases (relocation, holidays, vacations, etc).

Cites love them because they are not a major drain on their services. They contribute to the tax base, but take less from it in return. They don't have kids in school. They don't get sick as much so they don't require the same health/hospital care. They generally keep to their own devices. When they begin to get married and have kids, they usually head out to the burbs and become someone else's issue.

Companies will naturally go where this type of workforce is available to them.

Cites want these companies. It's certainly a factor.

Columbia does need more of a job base. It certainy helps. If I had to find another job for some reason, I'm >80% sure I would be outta here. That wouldn't necessarily be the case in Atlanta or RDU.

What can Columbia offer? To put it bluntly, it offers people an opportunity to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond, so to speak. Flocking to a big city at the same time as thousands of other similar young go-getters (e.g. NYC, Boston, SF, Seattle, etc) can make one feel even more insignificant than they already are.

I like that I can can get in the door and make an appointment with just about anyone in this city. Try scheduling an appointment with the mayor of NYC to chat 1:1 about something.

That brings me to another gripe. Besides the image makeover (broken record :silly: ), it would be nice to see city government have a few more 'younger' representatives. That seems to be happening in a number of mid-size cities across the country. I think someone young could at least offer a different perspective, even if they are in the minority.

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Haha, I'm working on it. Im still learning the ropes around here though :cry:

I'm probably a little too young to be taken seriously. Baby steps.

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Without reviewing what everyone posted (sorry, after skimming it does sound interesting what many of you wrote) I will provide just a short summary. It has much to do with small to medium sized cities lacking what larger cities have as well as cities that are predominated by a college culture & a larger city that isn't. Sorry for not going into any further detail, but of course - if you want to stay in SC, of course there are a variety of options to do so. I myself have seen numerous jobs in Columbia in my field of GIS, but I've stayed in Atlanta instead (until I move to another large city). There are numerous variables that make smaller cities more attractive to live in than larger cities, but additionally many positives to living in larger cities.

It's all relative when it gets down to it. There are always going to be factors that Columbia can't compete with Atlanta, but additionally there are many factors that Atlanta can't compete with Columbia (like nicer people :)).

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It's all relative when it gets down to it.  There are always going to be factors that Columbia can't compete with Atlanta, but additionally there are many factors that Atlanta can't compete with Columbia (like nicer people :)).

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yeah, like the fact that Columbia has the state's flagship university smack dab in the middle of down town. On the other hand, through my experiences there are some mean people in Columbia in Atlanta's defense.

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I grew up and went to college in SC, but moved out of state as soon as I was done with school. I never conciously thought about moving away from SC growing up (all my family lives in the state), but as soon as I realized that I could make my own life somewhere, I knew it was time to try somewhere other than SC. It wasn't a decision based so much on job and career opportunities (when I left SC, I had no clue what kind of work I wanted to do), but a cultural decision. I was tired of living in a society that seemed to value conformity, fear change, mistrust "outsiders" (anyone that had a different viewpoint from yours), and did not welcome new experiences and opportunities.

I realize that as a 22 year old, much of my reaction to SC was against my high school experience, my parent's lifestyles and the lifes of my extended family, and that there are many opportunities available in the state, but, for me, leaving the state was the best thing that I ever did. Have so many connections in Columbia, I didn't feel that I had the freedom to create the live I wanted, plus I didn't feel that my chances of meeting someone to share my life with was very good in SC.

I know that many of my college friends felt the same way about SC and were more than ready to leave upon graduation. Many moved to Atlanta and Charlotte, not nearly as many to Columbia or Charleston.

I also realize that my personal experience doesn't apply to folks moving into SC after school, but I think my experience is typical of many folks that grew up in SC.

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Yeah, like the fact that Columbia has the state's flagship university smack dab in the middle of down town. On the other hand, through my experiences there are some mean people in Columbia in Atlanta's defense.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well, Atlanta has Georiga State and Georgia Tech which are in downtown and midtown repsectively. I think the major difference (other than the obvious size issue) is that Columbia has a slightly more human sale about it. It is not as intimidating to try to navigate the area for new comers.

I grew up and went to college in SC, but moved out of state as soon as I was done with school.  I never conciously thought about moving away from SC growing up (all my family lives in the state), but as soon as I realized that I could make my own life somewhere, I knew it was time to try somewhere other than SC.  It wasn't a decision based so much on job and career opportunities (when I left SC, I had no clue what kind of work I wanted to do), but a cultural decision.  I was tired of living in a society that seemed to value conformity, fear change, mistrust "outsiders" (anyone that had a different viewpoint from yours), and did not welcome new experiences and opportunities.

I realize that as a 22 year old, much of my reaction to SC was against my high school experience, my parent's lifestyles and the lifes of my extended family, and that there are many opportunities available in the state, but, for me, leaving the state was the best thing that I ever did.  Have so many connections in Columbia, I didn't feel that I had the freedom to create the live I wanted, plus I didn't feel that my chances of meeting someone to share my life with was very good in SC.

I know that many of my college friends felt the same way about SC and were more than ready to leave upon graduation.  Many moved to Atlanta and Charlotte, not nearly as many to Columbia or Charleston.

I also realize that my personal experience doesn't apply to folks moving into SC after school, but I think my experience is typical of many folks that grew up in SC.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I agree. I know of many people who had that kind attitude. That said, I know of alot of people who love it here and want to stay (I'm one of them).

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I'll join in & agree with JT Boy - my past experience is very similar to your's. There will always be large numbers of young people leaving their hometowns & home states. The key is to be able to attract new residents to counter that pattern. Fortunately SC is doing that, but perhaps it hasn't been successful in attracting younger (20's) people but primarily young families. Which makes sense, it is a good state to raise a family - but attracting younger people is all part of that 'creative class' or 'cool cities' inititiaves, but otherwise I don't see a huge vacuam existing that is sucking all the young adults out.

Otherwise states & cities in the midwest, interior west, & deep south are having this problem. So I think SC is doing a great job comparably, since there are no large cities (at a national / regional scale) in the state.

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Also, sometimes I think it's because young people, such as those in my age bracket (I'm 25), want a slightly more urban experience than what our larger cities can provide. For those who don't want something as fast as Atlanta but faster than Columbia, Charlotte is perfect, and it's not too far. But then some think Charlotte is slow and go on to Atlanta. So I think that the sizes of our cities have something to do with it, and not necessarily the "culture" of the cities.

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Well, Atlanta has Georiga State and Georgia Tech which are in downtown and midtown repsectively. I think the major difference (other than the obvious size issue)  is that Columbia has a slightly more human sale about it. It is not as intimidating to try to navigate the area for new comers.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yeah, but I wouldn't think of Georgia State as Georgia's flagship univeristy. Georgia Tech, maybe, but UGA might be the most recognizable.

Anyway, I know a lot of people from right here in SC that find Columbia intimidating and hard to navigate.

Back on the subject, though. I agree with Krazeboi; Many people just want something bigger and new; and they are entitled to that. It's not that people such as me hate the state they live in (I love it). It's just that we want to explore and experience something different.

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Yeah, but I wouldn't think of Georgia State as Georgia's flagship univeristy. Georgia Tech, maybe, but UGA might be the most recognizable.

Anyway, I know a lot of people from right here in SC that find Columbia intimidating and hard to navigate.

Back on the subject, though. I agree with Krazeboi; Many people just want something bigger and new; and they are entitled to that. It's not that people such as me hate the state they live in (I love it). It's just that we want to explore and experience something different.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Very true!

I know from first hand experience the Columbia is intimidating for newcommers. I didn't mean to imply that it wasn't. However, I also know first hand that Atlanta is much more intimidating...

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Very true!

I know from first hand experience the Columbia is intimidating for newcommers. I didn't mean to imply that it wasn't. However, I also know first hand that Atlanta is much more intimidating...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Being very familiar with both Columbia and Atlanta and having experienced both as a "newcomer", I would say Atlanta is far more intimidating to navigate. But it is of course relative.

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I'll join in & agree with JT Boy - my past experience is very similar to your's.  There will always be large numbers of young people leaving their hometowns & home states.  The key is to be able to attract new residents to counter that pattern.  Fortunately SC is doing that, but perhaps it hasn't been successful in attracting younger (20's) people but primarily young families.  Which makes sense, it is a good state to raise a family - but attracting younger people is all part of that 'creative class' or 'cool cities' inititiaves, but otherwise I don't see a huge vacuam existing that is sucking all the young adults out.

Otherwise states &  cities in the midwest, interior west, & deep south are having this problem.  So I think SC is doing a great job comparably, since there are no large cities (at a national / regional scale) in the state.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I'm glad someone brought up the "young families" part of the equation. I just moved to Midlands from the Northern Virginia suburbs near DC (I am originally from a Forest Acres-like suburb of Chicago). The appeal to young families was definitely a factor for us.

Now, Atlanta, etc. still has/have good, relatively affordable opportunities for young families. Not that I am advocating sprawl, but if you have young kids or are thinking about starting a family, you could go out into North Fulton (Alpharetta, etc.), Forsyth, Gwinnett, Cherokee, Fayette Counties, etc. Of course, the big problem here is Atlanta's horrific traffic, unless you work near home. I was talking to a young relative of mine, and he once lived in Duluth, GA and worked in Duluth - he said traffic in Atlanta wasn't bad (well, duh, if you live & work in the same area).

That's where Columbia is a really good sell - you can have a family-friendly house on the suburban/exurban frige (let's not debate whether young families really need a large single family house on a cul-de-sac lot - this is just the reality of what they demand today), and still have a very reasonable commute into downtown. In DC/Atlanta, most people consider it good if you have a commute of an hour or less. Here in Cola, most people can manage a commute of 30 minutes or less, perhaps 45 minutes tops. I have one co-worker who comes in from Lancaster (up near Rock Hill), and he can make it in an hour (he does get in at 7am, though). Perhaps it's a blessing in disguise, but at least we aren't growing/sprawling at a cancerous pace, especially considering our excellent interstate access. I actually prefer the goldilocks pace of growth here (and we are certainly growing a lot faster than dying Northern metros like Buffalo or stagnant ones like Cincinnati).

Columbia's young family-friendliness did attract my wife and I from the DC area. It is really hard in the big, established, "hip" metros for a young, aspiring familiy to settle down without having a horrendous commute or paying through the nose for a fixer-upper townhouse at best. Yes, we did have to give up having a Thai restaurant on every corner (trust me, I'm not exaggerating that much - this is almost true even in the inner-ring DC 'burbs), but Columbia, as a state capital/college town, has enough cool, interesting amenities for us to be happy with.

Let Atlanta, Charlotte, and the Triangle grow at their break-neck speeds - they are reaping economic benefits, but are also swallowing more and more of urbanity's problems and are desparately trying to catch up and cope with them. Look at an area like Norcross, GA - they have terrible gang problems now, and people are scratching their heads as to what to do. Well, when you grow so fast where people can keep leapfrogging from one exurban house to the next new house on the next new exurban fringe, this is what you get. How many families keep getting tired & antsy and have moved from Doraville to Norcross to Buford to who knows where next?

Yes, I do like the big fish/small pond nature of Columbia, and it's slower but still healthy pace of growth. Yes, there are a lot of frustrating issues and often a less progressive attitude about developing the city & region. But I think there's a lot to be said about Columbia's "happy medium". And I also think that attracting young families as well as young singles (which Columbia isn't all that bad in attracting & retaining), has a better chance at stable growth in the long term. I mean, do you really think there's a sense of civic commitment by residents in Atlanta's Buckhead or Charlotte's Dilworth, with its more transient population. Of course, this is a problem everywhere - people keep moving and don't have a sense of investment in their communities, regardless of whether their young/single, middle aged/with kids, or empty nesters.

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Interesting read Chi2Midlands - what is interesting about your comment about the long distance commuter, both my dad & sister did that when living in Rock Hill. He worked at Fort Jackson for a year & my sister received her masters at USC in Columbia. An odd possibility would be for the entire state of SC to be one massive MSA with Columbia as it's base - it is no more than 2 hours from nearly any city (except Myrtle Beach perhaps) to Columbia.

What a sick thought, the state of South Carolopolis ;)

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Chi2Midlands, thanks for another way of looking at things.

Also in the defense SC's cities, while I know of former classmates that moved out of state for jobs, I also know those who have stayed in state as well. I have three fraternity brothers who found good jobs in Columbia--one with a subsidiary of Blue Cross Blue Shield, another with the governor's office, and yet another in law enforcement. Another is pursuing his master's at USC. One works for the York County Convention and Visitor's Bureau. Still another works for Clinton Jr. College in Rock Hill and is obtaining his master's at Winthrop soon. I know one former classmate who got a really good job as a pharmaceutical rep in Columbia. Two have good jobs in Spartanburg (one working for the local newspaper), one works at Bell South in Charleston, etc. So I don't think SC cities are doing THAT bad of a job. We just have to step our game up a little.

And Teshadoh........I don't think so. ;)

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