I know a lot about sports. Like a sort of shocking amount. About several different sports -- baseball, football, basketball, tennis, even hockey. Like I know rules and positions and terminology. The thing is that I'm not even much of a sports fan. I mean, I don't dislike sports, but I rarely sit down to watch a game or pay much attention to the stats and standings. I have my favorite teams and am happy when I learn they're doing well (GO CUBS), but I don't schedule my life around watching them play. (I think I've watched one Cubs game all year. Okay, IF the Cubs go to the playoffs, yeah, I'll probably watch if only because they always provide such a beautiful lesson in crushing disappointment.)
As with much in my life, I blame my father for this wealth of useless information that clutters my brain. My dad LOVED sports. I think he was probably happiest when he was sitting in his recliner with a can of Pepsi in his hand and a game on tv. When I was a kid, we only had one tv for a long time, and so sports were a constant part of my youth. In the absence of anything else to watch and a desire to spend time with my dad, I would watch sports -- and learn. (My dad was a great teacher, although never a teacher by profession.)
So what's my point here? Well, my knowledge about sports led me to some thoughts this morning as I was driving to work and listening to NPR. They played a sound bite where Barack Obama stated that McCain was treating this election like a game to be played. I was a bit taken aback by this comment. Not that I doubted its truth (I've called politics a game many, many times) but realizing that McCain was treating it that way so blatantly. And with the way he's playing, I'm starting to get scared.
Nowhere is McCain's game-playing more evident than in his selection of Sarah Palin. Sarah Palin was not selected for her qualifications or her ability to perhaps lead this country. She's a ringer brought in designed to steal this game away. She's all flash and sizzle. She scores the occasional slam dunk, but she commits fouls to get that basket scored -- fouls that the referees (in this case, the voters) never seem to see. The people who DO see it and DO call foul are those poor souls in the back of the bleachers screaming at the refs to get their eyes checked -- and we all know that the refs never, ever do.
Meanwhile, we have Barack Obama who is a great player if a bit young and a bit of a phenom. When it came time for him to pick his team, Barack could have picked someone with some flash and sizzle (think Hillary Clinton) or picked someone who could "deliver" some key points (think Tim Kaine who could have helped Obama in Virginia or Evan Bayh who could have helped in Indiana). Instead, Obama picked Joe Biden. Biden is what my dad would have called a workhorse. He isn't driving to the net dunking the ball at every chance he gets. He's not a ball hog who's all about scoring. He's the sort of guy who leads the team in assists, who brings patience and deliberation and thoughtfulness to the team, who will provide key defense when needed. He completes the team, making it well-rounded. Team McCain is all about scoring points -- he's sort of like the Harlem Globetrotters. They're going to score, and they're going to score a lot, but after awhile, you miss the teamwork and the drama of a "real" game.
It makes me think a lot of my dad. My dad loved basketball and yet he didn't watch professional basketball all that much. Instead, he was a rabid fan of college basketball. Once, I asked my dad why he didn't watch the NBA, and he said, "They're just too good. It's all slam dunks and huge scores. With these college games, you get a good game played by a team. I'll take that any day over these guys with the inflated egos and paychecks showboating around the court." Obama-Biden is a team. McCain-Palin is inflated egos showboating around the court. Which team do you want to spend the next 4-8 years watching?