“War, n: A by-product of the arts of peace. The most menacing political condition is a period of international amity.” ~ Ambrose Bierce
For the record, I was in favor of Bush going into Iraq to take out Saddam Hussein. We’ll eventually work our way back to that.
One thing politics and sports have in common is money, and lots of it. Another is, you have to choose sides in order to enjoy matters—or so those who run the two institutions would have you believe. But take it from someone who has been a rabid fan of one side or another in both politics and sports: it’s inevitable you’ll eventually be driven by hatred.
That proved to be unhealthy for me. I know it was mentally and spiritually toxic and would bet a dollar to a doughnut it was harmful to me physically. It reached a head politically after the ’88 elections—a bit later on the sports side of the coin—in one of the most embarrassing moments in my life to this day. My hatred for one team boiled over, a complete ass of myself made I, as Yoda might put it.
Friends, Do You Suffer From Mets-Red Sox Syndrome?
Don’t let the subtitle fool you, I have a lot of Mets and Red Sox friends and love them dearly. I grew up, albeit from afar, rooting for Carl Yastrzemski, George Scott, Luis Tiant and the Red Sox. My Colt 45s/Astros have been a natural contraposition to the Mets since both teams came into existence, but I have never hated the latter (only individuals on it).
There have been a few teams along the way I did hate. With a passion. The Chicago Cubs. The Texas Longhorns. The New York Yankees. Tortilla Tech and the Dallas Cowboys. That led me to allying with other teams I only sorta’ hated, like the Milwaukee Brewers, Baylor Bears and Oakland Raiders.
Like following markets based on political news, looking at sports from a gambling perspective helped break me from being a rabid fan. There are teams still on my preferred list, no doubt; they’re just not preferred with the same fervor. Go bet some obscure college basketball game like Stony Brook and Vermont or an Astros-Mariners game right now and tell me where your fuckin’ allegiance is.
The hatred that Mets and Red Sox fans have for the Yankees is among the most intense vitriol I’ve witnessed in sports. I’ve long maintained that many more smile when the Yankees lose than frown should their beloved Amazin’s or Sawks lose.
C’mon, You Thought I Was Talking About Dubya, You Know You Were
So how many of you thought of G.W. Bush, the 43rd president of the United States, when I first commented about backing Bush to go get Hussein? Don’t worry, you’re among the many, an overwhelming percentage of people who thought the same upon hearing it. Without exact records, there is no tally of the times I’ve made that statement to folks during fairly casual conversation—I’m guessing 75, maybe 100. But the number of those who have immediately asked, “Which Bush?” is known.
Two. One claims not to have been inside a voting booth since 1978, and the other quit voting for democrats and republicans a little more than 20 years ago. I’m working on 25 years in that category myself.
I was all for the US of A, along with every other nation that signed UN resolutions 660 and 678 back in 1990, going back into Iraq the minute Saddam Hussein blinked and violated the terms of surrender. But everyone was too busy patting themselves on the back in one of those “Hey, we won!” moments we also see on sports fields. It doesn’t matter if it was by forfeit, a blown call by the ref, a lucky tip, or a foul ball that lands a quarter-inch from the chalk—the fact is, you had 60 scholarship players to their zero. And in politics, at least as far as the first Gulf War went, it proved to mean the same.
Most Americans rooted for Saddam to get the better of Iran during the 80s. Like the Mets-Red Sox syndrome I mentioned earlier, people get so caught up in hatred for someone else that they cheer for anyone. That’s where we are now in Syria—fans rooting against the US going in because it’s what the head donkey, Barack Obama, wants. And a lot of the rhetoric from the peace mongers, so vocal when an elephant, Bush 43, resided at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, is now silent. There’s a special place in hell reserved for those folks unless they change their ways.
Trust me, I’ve been there, and I’m sure that’s where I’m going. But I do believe I’ll be at least one floor higher in the devil’s hierarchy than those folks now making their decisions on Syria based on democrat or republican team colors. Rah-rah, hypocrites, and good luck with the hindsight defense when your day of reckoning comes.
Author: A crotchety old man since his birth during Gen. Eisenhower’s first term as US president, Willie B. Lakey resides in the bee-yoo-tiful Texas Hill Country along with his wife, too many cats and his beloved beer fridge. Employed as an overworked and underpaid freelance sportswriter, his few moments of happiness usually come when communing with critters, tending his garden or sippin’ cold beer and enjoying tunes at Gruene Hall.