Sports commentary: Political football

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Sports is a trivial aspect in making your presidential choice

By Mike Forster

  Sometimes I change my mind mid-column.  That's why having commands such as "cut" and "delete" and "paste" are so handy.

In this case, I had planned on writing a column about the race for the U.S. presidency.  My thinking was to point out the strengths and weaknesses of the two major candidates as they related to sports.

For instance, President Obama is into basketball in a big way.  In fact, a game of H-O-R-S-E between the prez and Clark Kellogg was televised at halftime of the NCAA championship game a couple of years ago.

Or, consider that Governor Romney took charge of the Salt Lake City Olympics, turning them into a sporting and a financial success.

There's also a negative side.  For instance, when throwing the first pitch on Opening Day, the president has displayed a throwing style reminiscent of that of my kid sister.  Sure, she's raised two athletic boys, but she still throws like a girl.  So does our president.

Governor Romney, similarly, has weaknesses.  For example, in prep school, he was on the pep squad and was manager of the ice hockey team.  The sum of his athletic endeavors was a single season of cross country.

President Obama claims to be a fan of the Chicago White Sox.  Strike that.  He must be a fan.  Nobody would falsely claim to cheer for that team:  There's no upside to being a White Sox fan, after all.

Governor Romney, on the other hand, appears not to have any favorite teams at all, absent his old schools, Brigham Young and Harvard.  And I'm not sure how you root for either of those teams.

I could have filled the entire space discussing the two men's merits relative to the world of sports.  As I make my livelihood from covering sports, it would seem logical that my election choice might be predicated on the candidates' background in this area.

Actually, it would only seem that way.  In truth, I care not a whit about either man's favorite teams, his athletic prowess (past or present) or his position on college football's playoff system.

Too much hot air and ink have been utilized in analyzing trivial aspects of this presidential race.

For that matter, it doesn't matter to me what either candidate's tax returns or college transcripts look like.

It doesn't matter one iota to me that Governor Romney's wife raises horses or that the First Lady raises vegetables.

What matters to me is what each fellow proposes to do about our debt, our economy, our unemployment and our wars.

And I state that, knowing that whoever it is that wins can only do so much in those first three areas.

Hopefully, you're not one of those people who thinks that "as long as my guy wins the republic will be saved."

Well, the truth is, the republic will endure.  Your guy (or the other one) will have a marginal impact.  

This will be the ninth election in which I've voted.  I'm fairly positive that in each and every one of those elections, I heard strong messages about how the USA was doomed if the "other guy" won.  Well, many times, the guy I fervently wanted to win in order to ensure our survival fell in the electoral college.

And, yet, here we are.

I'm a big believer in cyclical economics.  Sometimes, the economic tides are with you; sometimes they're not.

I'm also a big believer in American grit and the idea that we are a nation of winners.  Guess what?  Winners don't sit back and hope that the results of an election will result in the lifting of our collective funk.

If that's your belief, you need to start loading up on lottery tickets.

I personally believe that both candidates are men of good character.  They want to do what they believe is best for the American people.

I also  believe that it will take more than one person to keep America great.  It will take a few hundred million.

Frankly, I can live with either one of the candidates winning, because I don't think that either one is going to have a critical impact in our nation's recovery if we're all not ready to make some sacrifice and roll up our sleeves.

But, I will listen to both men's cases on those four key areas  (debt, economy, unemployment and wars) and vote accordingly.

Now, I've told you the criteria I'm using.  What I'm not telling you is what you should be using to base your vote.  Nor should anyone else.  That's your call.  

That's one of the things that makes this country great.  You get to do things your way.