Tuesday, March 30, 2010

WHEN SPORTS IS LIKE POLITICS: Reform is as reform does.

It was interesting to see the political process play out over the past year, especially in the past few weeks, as so-called "Health Care Reform" became a bigger political football than anything in a football game.

I don't really know, and I doubt anyone else knows, exactly what "Health Care Reform" is, and although I am still in the middle of reading H.R. 4872 right now, I am sure of this: It is not what Teddy Roosevelt first proposed about 100 years ago. Nor is it what Franklin Roosevelt wanted some 70 years ago. It sure isn't what Hillary Clinton (the first lady, not the Secretary of State nor the presidential candidate) tried to push through more than 16 years ago. Heck, the Health Care bill that was wrangled through the House recently wasn't even the bill that the House wanted. It wasn't what Barack Obama wanted when he ran for the office he now holds. But in the world of politics and semantics, all you have to do is repeat the lie long enough, and if the media picks up on it, then it will have legs. So "Health Care Reform" it is, complete with the lack of care
for millions of Americans, lack of universal coverage, failure to include all of the costs that will ultimately have to be paid for, but including funding for abortion, all of the back-room deals, the arm-twisting, the useless Executive Orders, broken promises to televise proceedings on CSPAN, the higher taxes, the more types of taxes, the forcing of people to purchase a product they may, or may not, want to buy, the inevitable huge deficits, and general lack of decorum by everyone who had an opinion on the bill, Mr. Olbermann.

So where is the sport in all of this? If you watched what I did over the past week on CSPAN, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, you will know that there was more strategy than an NFL game, more defense than a college basketball tournament, more slugging it out than an entire NHL hockey season, and more lack of ethical conduct than every Major League Baseball player who has juiced.

I will let you know when I finish reading the Health Care Reform Bill. Or whatever it really is.


I am not certain if this article written by Matt Hinton on Yahoo's Rivals.com sports forum was meant to be poignant, timely, or just plain sarcastic, but there was the headline in an article which tried to make sense of the new NFL playoffs overtime rule, the rule where a team which kicks a field goal in overtime will have to give the other team a chance with the ball. The headline read:

NFL owners pass overtime reform. Should the NCAA be next?

I don't know how intentional was that headline, but I am certain that it would have been written differently just 2 or 3 weeks ago.

The adoption of the word "reform" in a far more reaching context reminds me of how another word morphed from politics into sports and mainstream use.

It was back when Bill Clinton had a tawdry, adulterous, extra-marital affair of adultery that was adulterous in nature.

But not to worry, those words I just wrote never, ever, appeared anywhere in print when describing the adulterous affair engaged in by Bill Clinton.

Instead, Clinton's handlers managed to get the media to buy into his only having a "inappropriate relationship."

Ah, "inappropriate". The meaningless word that can be made to lesson a more serious offense, or make a lesser offense more sinister (think about it; Human Resources staff are great at making it a crime to do perfectly legal things, like discuss your pay with other employees. Such minor actions are called "inappropriate".)

Much like the "inappropriate" reference had crept into our vernacular, we now have this word "reform" morphing to the sports world.

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