12/22/07

What's Not To Love About Primary Season
By: Mark W Adams


My old roommate was a sports fanatic. A non-gambler, but simply obsessed with all things that involved his teams putting balls or pucks through, across or into something while a bunch of other people were trying to keep that from happening.

Now every year, there is a lull in the sports world, or so I thought. After Superbowl Sunday, sports didn't hold much for me until August or so, when Football season would start to gear up again. Basketball and hockey never held much appeal as a TV sport -- you just have to be there to get into the game, at least I do. Baseball bored me, which was a sin in my family since my great grandfather was a world series pitcher. I didn't get into the game until I was older, probably because it wasn't talked about in my house 24/7 once I moved out on my own.

Football was different. I never missed one of my high school or college home games, and got season tickets to the Browns' Dawg Pound when I moved to Cleveland in '85. Other sports just didn't have the same appeal. But I'd watch the games on TV every time the Brownies were away, and then watch the game after that, and Monday Night Football and every playoff game, no matter who played.

So after the Big Game, it was kind of a let down -- boring, cold, wet -- you know, winter in Northern Ohio. So the day in February my roommate said (while flipping between ESPN's Sports Center and two other sports news programs), "I love this time of year," I was confused.

Even Sports Illustrated knows nothing is going on in the wild, wild world of sports between the Superbowl and March Madness. They put out the swimsuit issue then for a reason. But my roommate knew better. He knew something was in the air, that out of chaos, form would take shape, a story would emerge from the ether, and out of the ... nothing ... magic would happen, records broken, history made.

Right then college basketball teams were jockeying for position to get picked for the field of 64 -- and the pro season was well under way. Hockey could be played outside, but the real games were indoors where they sold cheap beer at confiscatory prices. Deals were being made with mutli-millionaire, steroid infested baseball players who would be reporting to spring training in a matter of weeks. And ahh ... the football draft. The pros would be examining in exquisite detail every college prospect and how they would fit into the new program every coach swore would win it all next year, when their new meat got up to speed.

What the hell does this have to do with politics? The moral is, for those that pay attention, the stuff everybody watches later is born right now. This is the time something truly tangible is created out of the mist.

It's that season. It's the same feeling, that time when everything is in flux all at once. Chaos that will coalesce into a new President of the United States being elected right after the World Series, just before Ohio State beats Michigan. Again. As usual. Go Bucks!

George Bush has less than 400 days left. No more. And the field of people who want his job will be getting smaller and smaller as the weeks go by.

There are folks dropping out, a few dropping in to the race, and rumors of deals persist of a new third party. It's just like the time when there are no games being played in sports, right now, in politics, no votes are being taken yet -- but with so many possibilities, so many dreams to crush, the speculation couldn't be greater.

But soon, very soon, it will be all about the battle, not the dream; and the "what if's" will no longer be something that can believed and still be taken seriously.

Anticipation is sweet. You can spout projections now that no one will ever remember, or that you can easily weasel out of if some pedantic goofball wants to hold you to predictions that are as much wishful projection as any real political prescience. And if you end up being right, you got bragging rights for a decade.

This is the time when the air is choking with anticipation. After Iowa, we'll know some things, but not everything, just like we know half the teams won't go undefeated after opening day. We'll know that some folks won't be going on with their presidential ambitions before they vote in New Hampshire, and the field will thin again after Florida, Michigan. Nevada and South Carolina. Bam! Bam! Just like that, they'll drop like flies, one after another.

Some stubborn ones with no sense of respect will go through the motions, but everyone will know they're toast and will make jokes that barely register. Kucinich stayed on until the bitter end last time, and will not make anyone believe he should be taken seriously when he does it again.

After SuperDuper Tuesday, we'll all know who will be running against whom in November, or at the very least have narrowed it down to no more than two on each side; one clear frontrunner for the Dems and GOP, and maybe a close second place candidate or two who is looking for a miracle and the endorsement of all the other losers who dropped out, just to keep it interesting.

They'll be plenty of games within games, smears, rumors, fact-checking, outrages, lies, spins, promises and pandering between now and then. People will vote and the scores will be tallied -- and the excitement will ebb and flow.

But right now, savor the moment my political junkie friends. There won't be this many candidates, this many possibilities, this many futures again for a long, long time.

Granted, most of those futures look downright ugly; and the consequences could be far worse than your arch rival winning the championship. But for the real politics fan, life is good and the air smells electric.

1 Comment:

arubyan said...

Outstanding. Well said. We're watching history in the making. Why read/believe what someone else says later when you can watch it now for yourself.

Your great-grandfather was Red Ames? Who knew?

P.S. LSU is SO going to beat Ohio State.