The Best College

I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Tom Brady is a significantly better quarterback than Tim Tebow.

In ten seasons, Brady has appeared in five Super Bowls, winning three of them; his career post season record of 16-5 is unparalleled; Brady has won two Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Awards and has been invited to seven Pro Bowls.

Tim Tebow--his alliterative name notwithstanding--has done none of those things: Tebow has appeared in no Super Bowls (you would know if he had), has never been invited to start in a Pro Bowl, does not have 16 post season wins.

By any objective measure, Tom Brady is a better quarterback than Tim Tebow.

Unless, of course, we look a little more closely at the "objective measure."

Because if by better quarterback we mean the one with the most passing yards or the one with the most post season wins, then the better quarterback is Tom Brady, by a mile and a half. But if better quarterback is defined as the one who can sell more tickets or who has a longer time horizon or who is the more eligible bachelor then an argument can be made for Tim Tebow. It's possible that Tebow will be able to fill the stadium, play longer because he's younger, and is single while Brady is married.

The topic of an absolute "good" goes back to Plato's philosophical discourses of 2500 years ago. Here are a couple phrases from Wikipedia on the subject: "Good is the ultimate object of knowledge," and "the Good makes all other universals intelligible." Simply stated, "Good is good."

Tom Stoppard suggested that the tune of a Mozart concerto is better than the sound of a trumpet being sawed in half or a parrot being pushed downstairs inside a file cabinet. And I agree. It's harder to agree whether a Mozart concerto is "better" than a minuet by Beethoven.

It is also hard to define a good woman. Sophia Vergara has a lot of money, is a movie star, and is very pretty. Should I marry Sophia Vergara? Should I devote my life to courting her? Should I give up on the possibility of happiness with any other woman? Or should only Sophia Vergara--wealthy, movie star, physically attractive--be my goal?

Ignoring for a moment that I am happily married (and that were I to stray, my wonderful wife would chop me up into little pieces and feed me to the dog) what if Sophia Vergara leaves her sweaty socks on the floor of the bathroom when she comes back from a jog? If I insist that my bathroom floor remain unencumbered by stinky footwear, then Sophia--her other attributes notwithstanding--is not the woman for me.

What is the best college? Clearly Harvard, many would argue. Because Harvard admits only 6% of its applicants; because Harvard grads go on to to graduate and professional schools; because Harvard is located in Boston, a great college town.

But what if, because Harvard admits only one student of 16 applicants, your application is not the one smiled upon? What if Harvard grads go on to graduate school because of who the students were going in, not because of anything they learned in Cambridge? And what if Boston--wonderful city that it is--is just too distracting for some students? What if some students thrive in more rural neighborhoods?

Not to take anything away from Harvard, but it isn't for everyone.

Whoever said, "College is a match to be made, not a game to be won" got it right. Yet I see students year after year who "stalk" popular colleges the way an unhappy lover might commit himself to an unobtainable--and in many cases inappropriate--woman. My argument--find out where you belong--is not sour grapes, it's about finding the best possible grapes--grapes that don't leave their sweaty socks on the floor of your bathroom.

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