Tuesday, March 29, 2011
My sons all played college-level sports, and we spent years watching games and dealing with the aftermath--good or bad. If the game went well--meaning if our sons performed well--we'd go out for a meal and hear a lively recounting of the game with tons of people coming by to pat their backs, offer congratulations, and bask in the "big guy's glory." When the game didn't go well, the conversation was stilted, the mood tense, the company thin. We coined a phrase to succinctly explain the shifting tides: "Some days you're the hero. Some days you're the dog." (The dog on a run in the farthest, muddy, forgotten corner of the yard, no less.) We've all seen similar behavior in the national media. When BYU's Jimmer was on his game, you'd hear awed howls from the booth about BYU's great teamwork and their heart. When he had a dry run for several minutes, the focus was on what they lacked. Politics runs similarly. After the beginning of the war in Libya, (what is it called now? A kinetic military exercise?) I tuned to both CNN and FOX every day to see how wide the swing in reporting was, and I was very surprised that both networks' tenor was one of criticism over the failure of the administration to lay out clear objectives, and the arrogance of the decision to head to the UN for approval without consulting Congress. After President Obama's address last night, a major shift occurred. CNN was rolling out every chart and diagram to support their wild-eyed enthusiasm over every three-pointer they felt he scored. FOX marched out a long line of refs with differing opinions. My advice? Watch both, and divide everything in half. Historically, little has changed in two hundred years, and probably longer than that. I've read one hundred plus years-old newspaper accounts that swing just as widely, and chuckled at the volumes the conflicting reports speak about human nature. We haven't changed much over time. We like winners, and we'll do our best to make our guy look like a winner every chance we get. Well, one thing has changed quite a lot actually--the aspect of the civility with which we express our opinions. But that's another topic. Somewhere out in the nether-reaches of my backyard there's a dog that need a pat and some love.