Monday, December 10, 2007

Natural Comparisons

An unwritten, self-imposed rule on HHR has been to try to remain as upbeat and uncontroversial as possible. Leave it to long-time friend, reader, and HHR's newest regular contributer, Woddy, to kick off his career with a nice political piece. Shouldn't have expected anything less from a DC insider!

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Competitive sports have had an element of politics to them. If there is any doubt, just look at the BCS selection of the championship game this year – unabashedly biased, whole-heartedly partisan – for proof that sports and politics intersect. It would be logical…and realistic…to say that politics almost naturally find a home in the arena of sports.

Increasingly as of late, however, the sports persona can be seen on the political field. More and more, it is becoming a two-way street. Curt Schilling’s endorsement and recent stumping for Senator John McCain is just the most brazen example. So, it was understandable that I have found myself drawing comparisons of the BCS fiasco that was the 2007 season to the 2008 Presidential campaigns.

For those sports junkies who haven’t followed the presidential hopefuls yet, let me break it down in a common language we all speak: Senator Hilary Clinton, long believed to be the Ohio State of the election, has been unmasked as the over-hyped pre-season Cornhuskers; Senator Barack Obama, a respectable yet inexperienced sophomoric Florida squad, has turned the Democratic contest into a real horserace; All the while, it would be unwise to count out the still-formidable Trojans, reincarnated as former Senator John Edwards.

I don't understand this.

And don’t even get me started on the Republican nominees!

At this point, there may be some head shaking from the peanut gallery, but hear me out. Looking at this year’s college football season, almost anything that was expected to not happen, did. Right up until the end (I still can’t explain how West Virginia laid down for PITT like a trained lap-dog), there is unanimous agreement that this season was the most unpredictable and unscripted which, in turn, made it the most original and most captivating.

Even the Bowl selections were unbelievable, dripping with outside influence in the form of politics and financial interests (Georgia not in the Title Game?! Or the selection of Illinois vs Pac-10 Champion USC in the Rose Bowl??!!). The reality was that it was an open contest that any number of seven teams (the exact same number of Democrat Presidential hopefuls – eerie coincidence or planned comparison???) could have made a legitimate argument for.

The point is, with less than a month to go before the victor is chosen, Americans are already looking at their choices and are disgruntled (and frankly confused) with how we got to where we are. Politics, professional or sports-induced, have served the past four months a service by stirring up a great deal of interest. Each week, contenders took to the field on any given day in the attempts to slow down or trip-up their opponents. And, each week, someone did indeed stumble, sometimes by their own doing (I still haven’t forgiven Pete Carroll for keeping JD Booty in that Stanford game, but I will soon). Because of this, across the country, a great debate continues to rage.

If conventional wisdom tells us anything, it’s that the 2007 college football season should serve as a good indication as to how the 2008 Presidential cycle will end: with no clear consensus on a winner, uncertainty how this all occurred (again), and most people feeling cheated.

-posted by Woody

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