“Game changer” has been used quite a bit in St. Louis lately. I decided to do some research on when and who it was first used. It seems that new “game changers”, whether they are a new office building or a renovation of a landmark, have been being lauded in St. Louis for the past couple of years. According to Merriam Webster’s Dictionary the term “game-changer” was first used in 1993.
“A new element or factor that significantly changes an existing situation”
Now that we have established this, I began to look at old newspaper articles about landmarks in St. Louis’ history to see if 1993 was the first time the word was used. Although I would have loved to have read all the original papers by Pierre Laclede, and Auguste Chouteau, I was unable to access any French script they may have written about a changer de Deu at the time St. Louis was founded in 1764.
A bit higher, I was certain James Eads and newspapers would have called the opening of the bridge in 1874 a “game-changer,” as it allowed for huge time savings for moving railcars across the Mississippi. The St. The St.
Maybe then, the World’s Fair of 1904, I thought. Again, no luck. Next, I tried to look at other important events in American cities such as the opening of the Brooklyn Bridge or the Chicago River being reversed. Merriam Webster said that the term “game-changer” was not used until the 1990s. At first, it refers to actual sporting contests where someone changed the outcome of a match.
The term “rebranding” starts to creep into the mix, often about a new project that isn’t going to change any outcome. Metro just announced that it will be purchasing electric buses a few days ago. This is a fantastic announcement. The reduction in carbon emissions by these new buses is great news in a city that has a high rate of untreated asthma. It is a game-changer, but is it? datausa.io shows that 91% of St. Louisans drive a vehicle to work. This is true regardless of whether they are driving their car or riding in a carpool.
Another article discusses the move of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGIA) to St. Louis Place as a “game-changer.” I have also heard sporadic reports that land speculation caused land prices in nearby JeffVanderLou blocks to rise. We are led to believe that capital will flow into North St. Louis in what could be a modern-day The Music Man. Paul McKee’s dreamy, quixotic vision is still alive. Off the record, I learned from employees that many are anxious about the move to the new site, which is far from South County, where many agency staff lives.
The Post-Dispatch reported on Valentine’s Day that Steve Stenger referred the Crossings at Northwest to Northwest Plaza’s zombie remnants as a game-changer. It is hard to imagine a renovated stump of what was once a multi-anchor economic engine having significantly changed North County. Menard’s Hardware Store is incredible. …)
Unfortunately, and in what I consider to be proof that St. Louis leadership is not learning from history and repeating past mistakes, I am hearing more than the renovations of the Gateway Arch Grounds are a “game-changer for the city.” How did they do it? Isn’t that what they claimed in the 1960s as well? It’s amazing. I love it. But it has not done anything to stop the rapid depopulation, institutional racism, and entrenchment of poverty in large swathes of the city. Although the Arch indirectly generated tax income through tourists who came specifically to see the monument, that is still a stretch of belief. Since its opening, Arch attendance has been declining. While we will see an increase in visitors to the monument’s beautiful, well-done renovations it won’t bring about any kind of revival.
No one project can change the game of St. Louis. This city’s leaders have been trying to find solutions that would somehow cover up the real problems for years. The real problems are crime, racism, education dysfunction, declining taxes, and the general feeling that St. Louis is in decline. The phrase “game-changer” was originally coined in the sports world. We can learn valuable lessons from this world: hard work is key to long-term success. Where are the Cardinals now? They are in Florida practicing for months, just before the first game of their season. Only if our leaders were as persevering.