Super idea: Snap out of sore loser stupor
Super idea: Snap out of sore-loser stupor
Today is an unofficial national holiday: Super Sunday.
Wednesday also was an unofficial national holiday, at least for college football zealots: National Signing Day.
That exalted status suggests that perhaps we Americans take our sports -- especially the concussion-inflicting, knee-wrecking spectacle of American football -- too seriously.
Hey, it could be a lot worse. For instance:
Seventy-four people were killed in the frenzy following host Al-Masry's 3-1 futbol victory over Cairo's Al-Ahly in Port Said, Egypt, on Wednesday. At about that same time, South Carolina and Clemson fans were sizing up their football coaches' annual haul of fresh high school talent.
OK, so that Bloody Wednesday in a chaotic land where the Arab Spring has spawned an ominous political rise of the Muslim Brotherhood wasn't a typical soccer riot. However, the sport does has a long history of harrowing violence on multiple continents.
Just don't let that scare you away from giving futbol in the U.S. a chance. There's minimal risk of hooligans roughing you up in these parts when you go to see, among other local soccer attractions, the Charleston Battery, our professional team; the College of Charleston, which has earned five NCAA bids under coach Ralph Lundy; and Wando High School's defending boys and girls state champions. Despite the mayhem off the pitch (the proper term for a soccer field) in distant realms, the sport really is "The Beautiful Game."
There's a lesson in perspective here that extends beyond football, futbol, sports in general and into the high-stakes game of politics:
Ease up on the sore losing -- and the sore winning.
Just as Gamecock fans shouldn't fuel the fires of in-state -- and in some cases, in-family -- bitterness by taunting Tiger fans about USC's three-year football winning streak over Clemson, Mitt fans shouldn't taunt Newt fans about Romney's two-contest winning streak over Gingrich.
Nor should Barack Obama fans be so quick to brand Republicans as robber barons intent of exploiting the poor and despoiling the planet.
Conversely, conservative talk-show fans shouldn't be so quick to echo their heroes' overwrought branding of Obama as a "Marxist" intent on destroying the American way of capitalism.
And all sides shouldn't be so quick to dread that if the opposition wins the next election, unprecedented and likely irreversible misery will ensue.
Sure, it's standard fare for politicians to warn that the next election will "define" our future for good -- or bad. Sure, in this conservative's view, we need a change at the top.
Despite Obama's personal charms, including a sweet singing voice that he recently turned loose for a few lines of the Rev. Al Green's "Let's Stay Together" during a fund-raiser at New York City's Apollo Theater, he's overseen a record federal spending spree that has accelerated our tumble toward potential fiscal oblivion. More than three years into his presidency, he persists in passing the buck to his White House predecessor for our still-soaring national debt and what will be the current administration's fourth straight trillion-dollar-plus deficit.
But that doesn't make Obama a Marxist. It also won't make the U.S. forever doomed if the voters blunder by re-electing him. Unfortunately, though, our weaknesses for demonizing the other side and assuming that good or bad times will last forever infect our politics -- and our sports.
Yes, it's depressing to realize that "America's Team" has failed to reach America's big game for 16 straight seasons after making it to eight of the first 30 Super Bowls.
Look on the brighter side: That team -- the Dallas Cowboys -- almost made the playoffs this season.
Look, too, to the enduring wisdom delivered four decades ago by Dallas running back Duane Thomas. A few days before leading the mighty Cowboys to a 24-3 thumping of the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI, Thomas was asked if playing in the title game was the "ultimate experience."
He replied: "If it's the ultimate, how come they're playing it again next year?"
Keep that insight in mind during tonight's game.
And if the folks you root for lose on this Super Sunday, on Super Tuesday next month or on Election Day in November, remember, even "America's Team" can't win 'em all.
Frank Wooten is assistant editor of The Post and Courier. His email is email@example.com.