You don’t ‘play’ for office

Well, with sports still put on pause for the foreseeable future, I’ve started to look into other sports I might be able to get into.

I tried getting into politics, which I’ve heard is a sport in its own right. The only problem is that I’m much more of a team-sport-oriented person and politics seems to be anything but a team sport. If you don’t believe me, there’s a reason it’s called “running for office” and not “playing for office.” You can’t get a much more solitary sport than running. Maybe cycling, but that’s debatable.

Still, I tried to get into politics, but it just doesn’t scratch the same itch. The statistics are all wrong, the players weights don’t matter, players change teams at random. You can’t even bet on it without people complaining that, “You should take this more seriously.” Pfft. It doesn’t matter if politics is a team-sport or not, it certainly has the fan-bases of a team-sport, complete with name-calling, grudges that go back so far people can’t remember the reason for them in the first place, and a distinct impression that one’s team is the best team.

It wasn’t long, though, before I realized why I couldn’t get into the “game” of politics, as it were. The answer was right there in front of me: I’m not filthy stinkin’ rich. It’s hard to really, truly care about GDP and the Nasdaq and national debt when I’m eyeing the cardboard box under the bridge thinking, “I might be able to raise kids there some day if I save up. We’d have to renovate it, but that’s a nice cardboard box!”

Politics is the adult version of lacrosse: It’s mostly played by rich people from private schools and a good 95-percent of everyone else has never played it and won’t ever even have the chance to.

It’s an election year, and I know everyone is getting ready to support their team. They’ve got their jerseys and their bumper stickers in team-colors. Each team has their fight songs and their star players.

Still, it doesn’t fill that itch. There’s something pure about watching a group of people try and kick a ball past each other or dribble a basketball or just flat-out try and out-hit each other in football. I know the rules to those games. I know when someone broke them and what the penalties are. I know what to expect out of the players and the coaches. It’s straightforward. I miss it.

I guess I just can’t help feeling a sense of dread as things start to get back to normal, because I know that in an election year that means a whole lot of stuff that isn’t straightforward, and a lot of stuff that doesn’t have an easy answer. You can’t call a foul on an economic policy or sit a politician in the penalty box for two minutes when they break the rules.

At least – not yet.