Progressive Programmer

Progressive Politics or idle geek banter. What's on my mind when I'm irked, intrigued, bored or up too late.

Location: Michigan, United States


That's why they play the games

I'm on my way to lunch this afternoon in NC, and the sometimes-political, sometimes-apolitical AM talk show (Brad and Britt) runs a brief advertising clip from the morning's broadcast:
Host A - I wonder if these stupid democrats are gonna try and filibuster the Alito nomination, they're only delaying the inevitable.

Host B - They already delayed it--they delayed it for a week.

Now, this pissed me off.

Yes, the odds of successfully using the filibuster to cast BTK Sammy in with the dust bunnies of history were all but nil.

Yes, the democrats that attempted to push the filibuster knew this.

Yes, so did the rest of America.

But as a friend of mine used to be all too fond of saying on Mondays during football season, "That's why they play the games."

I was reminded of the Carolina Hurricanes vs the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup Finals back in 2002. Noone anticipated the matchup. The Hurricanes had toughed out a long playoff stretch, coming back against Montreal from a 3-goal deficit to regain playoff momentum that lasted right into the finals. The Red Wings, on the other hand, were stacked. They had Yzerman, Lidstrom, Shanahan, Federov, Chelios, Hasek, Hull, Larionov. The Red Wings were picked to win from the drop of the puck of the season opener.

The Hurricanes knew about the Wings. The Hurricanes knew they were outmatched and outgunned. The Hurricanes knew that they faced at least 5 or 6 hall of famers, a team that had won 2 cups in a row a few years back. A perennial favorite with a huge payroll. A storied franchise. A team that was led by the greatest coach in the history of the game, Scotty Bowman.

Most people looked at the Hurricanes as a joke. Hockey in North Carolina? The Canes even had trouble keeping the ice frozen in their arena because it was so hot outside--they had never played that far into the post-season before. How dare this upstart franchise (spirited out of Hartford, where they were the Whalers--still a touchy subject up there in CT) try and come into Hockeytown? Didn't anyone tell them the Wings were guaranteed to win?

Well, yes.

Everyone told them. Everyone kept telling them.

But they still showed up for the games.

They won the first game 3-2 in overtime. They took the 3rd game into triple overtime in what is still regarded as a finals classic. But they lost the series in five games. They lost, just like everyone said they would.

It was thrilling. It was unforgettable. And they still lost. Just like everyone said they would. Leading up to it, I never heard a single Wings fan say, "I wonder if these stupid Hurricanes are going to try and win the series." I never heard anyone say, "I can't believe those stupid Hurricans tried to win the series." To the victor goes the spoils, and so you have to prove you should be the victor by, well, winning.

There are a great many classic underdog, David v Goliath moments in sports. And you don't hear Americans wishing they never happened. You hear Americans cheering on the underdog--congratulating them on a tough fight. You hear them recount the classic game/match/series/race. You see their eyes widen and their face light up. You hear the emotion in their voice as they try to push their emotional joy or heartbreak onto you, giving you a piece of what they already see as legend.

That's the America I love. That's the America I want for my children. And that's the America the far right, filibuster-bashers want to squash like a bug.

To them, elections, Senate rules, constitutional obligations, voters--these are a nuisance that stands in the way of their power. They would much rather have victory handed to them so they didn't have to bother playing the game at all.

But what the hell is the point in that? Not only is it one dull-ass game, it's not what the founders of my America had in mind. That's why they set up the system the way they did, and that's why the democrats were right to show up for the game with every weapon they had.

I'm not liberal, I'm just paying attention


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