Sunday, December 2, 2007

'Making Plays': Exercises in Frustration

Speed is not your fastest, but your slowest man.  No back can run faster than his interference.  ~Jock Sutherland

He was the only man I ever saw who ran his own interference. 
~Steve Owen, about Bronko Nagurski

The Rose Bowl is the only bowl I've ever seen that I didn't have to clean.  ~Erma Bombeck

The reason women don't play football is because eleven of them would never wear the same outfit in public. ~Phyllis Diller

Football combines the two worst things about America:  it is violence punctuated by committee meetings.  ~George F. Will

The Romans used to be entertained by gladiators and wild animals fighting and being killed in a public arena.
To them, that was sport. At least to the decadent rulers and hangers-on who valued strength and brutality.
Was that a contributing cause to the decline of that Empire?

What about today's gladiators?
I'm entertained by them, too, but only up to a point.
That point was reached sometime earlier today, when I experienced such butt-weariness that I gave in to the jaded practice of turning thumbs down to that icon of consumerism and excess, my over-worked TV.

But there were some highlights that were exciting, like two underdogs defeating teams that might have otherwise played each other in the BCS Championship Game.
Then, again today the Seahawks snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, after demonstrating such ineptitude that it was only surpassed by the Eagles with great effort.

That reminded me of the following quote that seems so appropo:
"You don't have to win it, just don't lose it." - Ray Lewis, Baltimore linebacker to quarterback, Elvis Grbac

After that intro, I bet you thought this was about football, didn’t you?

In a sense it is, but only as an analogy to politics and real life.

Fitness, strategy, talent, motivation are all for naught unless you score.

Only a few actually play the game, with most participating as spectators.

The possibility of ‘instant replay’ does exist, however usually the officials enforce the law accurately.

In a football game, everyone knows the rules and the object, which is to win – meaning scoring more points than your opponent.

How many games have you watched that were settled in the last few seconds, or on the basis of one team just making fewer mistakes?

After the game, players are sore, but usually imbued with some sense of accomplishment or ‘thrill of victory’, or disappointment – the 'agony of defeat'.

So it is in politics, either after a campaign or when an issue is finally resolved, at least in part.

Yes, politics is a competitive sport that can be rewarding, but bruising.
One win means nothing until the next game is played.
The team that wins does not have long to brag or rest on its laurels!
The season is brutal, long and relentlessly demanding.
The rewards are often fleeting, but the sacrifices are lasting in nature.

Why would anyone want to play such a sport?
Because -both metaphorically and in actuality- we have no choice.
The best we can do is to accept the reality of knowing that constant attention and effort is required, and commit to prepare ourselves as best we can for it.

Win, lose or draw, politics –like football- depends on preparation, people and chance.
And -unlike football- the game never ends!
Now, that’s a sobering thought, isn’t it?

Individual commitment to a group effort - that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. - VINCE LOMBARDI

If it doesn't matter who wins or loses, then why do they keep score? - VINCE LOMBARDI

"Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan. "- Tom Landry
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