I’m certainly not the first guy to use a sports metaphor in politics, and no doubt many of you are praying fervently that I will be the last. But hey, Keith Olbermann mixes sports and politics, and he has literally hundreds of viewers! So it can work.
But if you give me a moment to make a trivial point, I’ll try to pay it off with something not trivial at all.
Fact is, I’m not really a sports fan. Apparently there are some baseball games still going on, and there’s that thing where you throw a pumpkin through a hoop. I’m just a football fan. Not just football — College Football. Not just College Football — Gator Football.
If you went to the University of Florida when I did, you know heartache. In my freshman year, we lost the first game, tied the second, and lost everything else. Then, the following year, we were up by one over the hated Georgia Bulldogs. Ninety seconds left, Georgia on their own seven… we’re gonna win! Buck Belue rolls into his own end zone, hits Lindsey Scott on the 25… and time slows to a crawl… That magnificent bastard runs all the way back for the touchdown. That was the worst 20 seconds of my young life.
The last six weeks of McCain’s campaign have felt like those twenty seconds — replayed endlessly, every day. Just slow-motion, open-mouthed disbelief.
There comes a point when you are down late in the game and the team morale will break one way or another. When they know they’re beaten you see it in the play calling and in the faces on the bench. The fans are sullen. Most of them have left the stadium muttering about next year.
But now and then, down by 14 with less than 3:00 on the clock, you can watch your guys sprint onto the field. No huddle. Quick slashing passes to the sidelines. Stop the clock. First down.
When you see they mean to win this thing, no matter how far behind… something happens. The critical thing happens. The fans get in the game.