Archive for Saturday, August 11, 2012

Football and political games have many similarities

August 11, 2012


Primary elections are over, and the race for the White House now moves into high gear. Republican and Democratic national conventions will take place in a few weeks, and there will be a brutal, fierce and costly battle between now and the Nov. 6 general election.

It’s likely those living in past years have said a particular presidential election was the most important in ages for the country, but there are many reasons or situations in our country today that could justify a claim that the 2012 presidential election could prove to be a defining road map for the nation’s history in terms of free enterprise vs. socialism and greater government control.

Now also is the time when the collegiate football season is about to get under way, and political and football games share many similarities.

Those playing the political game have had their “spring training” and “preseason practices” with their intraparty rivals, fundraising efforts and primary elections, and will be selecting their candidates at the nominating conventions.

The win-loss records of the two candidates, how the public judges their potential to give the country and its citizens a winning record and keep the country strong, along with the ability to raise the funds needed to execute a winning campaign strategy, all play important roles in getting out the votes.

In major college football, recruiting good players (candidates) is critical. Spring and preseason practices prepare the players for the actual 10- to 12-game regular season and the postseason bowl games that eventually determine the national champion.

As in politics, money, big money, is essential for a winning athletics program, and alumni and friends in many ways fill the same role as campaign aides and volunteers.

In the presidential political arena, the candidates play the key role. Has the incumbent put together a winning record? Is he or she articulate? Has he or she earned the respect and confidence of the voters and delivered on promises and pledges from his or her last campaign? Have candidates been honest with the public? Have the two candidates been well trained to hold the world’s most powerful elected position?

The challenger has the luxury of saying how he or she would have handled delicate or serious situations differently than the incumbent and done a better job for the country.

The incumbent is faced with the task of defending his record, good or bad. If that record has been poor, he must find excuses for his failures and inability to measure up to the grand-sounding promises he made to win his first election.

The incumbent’s task is to convince voters he can do a better job and correct his mistakes IF given another term in office — an extension on his contract.

In the game of football, with seasons to begin in a few weeks, many of the same situations or questions exist.

The coach is the leader, and fans and alumni, just like voters in the political game, blame the coach if the team does not measure up to expectations. A coach may have promised or pledged success when he sought the job, when he recruited players, when he asked generous alumni for financial support and when he hired his assistants. He also told university administrators what he would deliver with a winning program, what it would mean to the school, students and alumni enthusiasm — but in order to achieve excellence better facilities would be needed.

Coaches who deliver on these and many other pledges, and win, usually get contract extensions and larger paychecks, and their teams remain strong. College chancellors and presidents sanctimoniously claim their particular schools do not overemphasize sports, but they revel in their success on the playing field. They want winners, regardless of what they say.

Look at the KU football situation. If you don’t win, you don’t stay. Turner Gill, the last KU coach, may have been a nice person, although few outside the athletics department saw or knew much about him. He won two games his first season and two games the next season. He was fired!

With the presidency of the United States, supposedly a far more important job than a football coach, U.S. citizens are supposed to decide whether the current coach (Barack Obama) has done what he promised and pledged. Has he coached a winner? Is there any reason to believe he could perform better in the next season (term)?

Most coaches at this country’s major universities receive far higher salaries than a U.S. president so maybe this justifies the fact that they either win or they are gone — fired! Nevertheless, it still seems performance should count, whether in the White House or on a football field. Phony excuses usually ring hollow when it comes time to renew coaching contracts. Should the same rationale apply to those in the political field?

What is the winning record of Obama?


appleaday 5 years, 8 months ago

Maybe if we quit treating politics as a game in which one side wins and one side loses, the various factions could actually come together and work to solve problems. Compromise, working together, and respecting each other's views are necessary to move forward.

Paul R Getto 5 years, 8 months ago

The reference to money is accurate. The rest is pretty bland and obvious.

voevoda 5 years, 8 months ago

Democrats don't advocate socialism and Republicans don't advocate a free market. So your basic premise about what is at stake in the election is wrong, Mr. Simons.
Your simile is wrong, too. Athletic coaches don't get stuck with an obstructionist coaching staff, determined to let the team lose just in order to get the coach fired.

Keith 5 years, 8 months ago

Place your bets here, we're getting a pool going on the odds that FHNC can produce a coherent sentence.

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