Early County News

Everybody loses in political football

Other Voices

 

 

Since the beginning of preseason drills, they had been pitted against each other.

Offense vs. defense.

Coaches of the college football team ridiculed the offensive players when the defensive players made a great play. Players on defense were scolded when the offense scored. It went on and on until the players started forming hostile alliances. No longer did the offensive players socialize with the defensive players. Formerly friends, they now detested each other, despite having so much in common. And if you were from one unit, and were caught talking pleasantly with a player from another unit, you were quickly brought in line, and told that fraternizing would not be tolerated. They were your enemy.

Then came the first game, against the college’s biggest rival.

Hours before the game, the defensive captain called his unit together for a player’s only meeting – meaning, only defensive players.

“Listen, guys, we want the offense to look bad. We want the other team to score 100, and them score none,” he told his squad. “So, we need to do everything we can to make them look horrible. That means putting our offense in positions where it’s about impossible to score.”

One of the defensive backs looked puzzled – “How do we do that?”

“We let the other team score every time they have the ball,” the defensive captain said.

“Won’t that make us look bad?” the defensive back asked.

“I’m not worried about us looking bad,” the captain retorted. “After the game, we’ll put the blame on them.”

Meanwhile, the offensive players were meeting with their starting quarterback.

“Our strategy is to make the defense look like they’re the worst defense in the history of college football,” he said.

One of the offensive linemen raised his hand.

“I’m confused. Are we wanting to make the other team’s defense look bad, or ours?”

He was quickly told to shut up and stick to the plan.

When the game started, the offense fumbled the first snap, giving the other team the ball on the 5-yard line. The defense then let the other team’s offense score.

On the offense’s second possession, the quarterback purposely threw an interception. When the defense took the field, their players whiffed at every half-hearted tackle attempt. The college’s football team was down 14-0 within the first two minutes. At halftime, it was 66-0.

The fans were irate. They yelled at their team. Booed. Hissed.

The offense didn’t care. The defense had given up 66 points in a half. The defense also seemed pleased. The offense hadn’t produced a single point.

The head coach was absolutely aghast when he congregated his team in the locker room. But he had figured out what was up.

“Alright, I see what’s going on here,” he said to the team. “The defense is purposely doing nothing. The offense is turning the ball over every time, also doing nothing. You think you’re making the other unit look bad, right?”

The players didn’t say anything for a minute, then the quarterback said, “It’s their fault,” which sparked a flurry of finger-pointing and accusations.

“Listen, you complete idiots – YOU’RE ON THE SAME TEAM!!,” the coach screamed. “The offense isn’t one team, and the defense another. You’re on the same team! The other team is the one you’re facing out there, and they’re killing you because you won’t work together. Offense, you’re not winning anything, accomplishing anything, if your entire goal is to make the other part of your team look bad. And vice versa. The goal isn’t to beat up on ourselves. The goal is to work together to beat your opponent. You’re on the same team! Don’t you get that?”

College athletics actually does get it. And that’s why you’ll never, ever see this scenario play out on any team, in any sport, anywhere. Even little kids can understand teamwork, and that, no matter what “unit” we are aligned with, we’re all on the same team. And our goal isn’t to make our teammates “look bad,” which is pathetic.

College football is a game. Government isn’t.

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