A Bridge(s) Over Troubled Water?


It has been 1423 days since Flint, Michigan has had clean water.  Let that sink in.  In this day and age, a city with a population of 100,000 people has had no clean water since April 26, 2014, when the city switched water sources from Lake Michigan to the Flint River.  The river was not the problem.  The old pipes used to carry the water leaked lead into the the tap water of the city.  It has been almost 4 years.  Unbelievable but true.  The Flint Police Department has been cut to 98 officers, to police 100,000 residents.  That is impossible.  That is an injustice.  Injustice is the theme of the city.  The theme of the population is resilience.

The last time there was clean water in Flint, Miles Bridges was a junior at Huntington Prep School in West Virginia.  The Flint native had left Michigan while clean water still sprung from the taps of his hometown, in search of his basketball dream.  2 years later he was back in his home state, a hometown hero playing for Michigan State University in East Lansing.

Miles Bridges put Flint on his back.  Literally.  He proudly sports a massive FLINT tattoo across his shoulders.  He has carried his Spartans team to the 2018 NCAA Tournament despite the tumult and turmoil that continues in Flint, just miles away from Miles.  Michigan State was lucky enough to earn a #3 seed in the Midwest Regional of the tournament meaning they got to play in Detroit in front of the local fans in desperate need of something to cheer for.  Bridges carried the hopes of the state in the opening round scoring 29 points, including 10 of his team's 12 second half points en route to an 82-78 victory over Bucknell.

In the second round, the Spartans were in a dogfight with 11th seeded play-in Syracuse.  It was just one more day of adversity for a child of Flint who grew up with the odds against him.  Bridges was 1-10 from the field before making couple of 3s to try to spark his Spartans.  When the shots weren't falling he tried to will his team to victory with sheer determination:

Alas it was not to be.  Bridges would end up making only 4 of 18 shots.  The Spartans missed their last 14 shots and were eliminated by an inferior team.  There is no fairy tale ending, only nightmares.  Nothing new to a kid from Flint Town.  It won't stop him, it will only make him fight that much harder.  Ice in his veins?  Nope, lead in his water.

Tim Caldwell