In 1978, I had a breakout moment in my basketball career. I was a shooting guard on the Interlochen Elementary JV team. After about three team turnovers in 35 seconds, I grabbed a loose ball, broke away from the pack and nailed a layup. For the opposing team. My dad, who had coached high school football for a dozen years, stayed remarkably composed in the bleachers. He didn’t suddenly start rooting for the other team.
On October 8, 1988, I was in college in my dorm room with the windows pulled up. I was listening to the booming PA from across campus when Columbia University’s 44 game losing streak came to an end with the 16-13 defeat of our football team. I started going to games after that loss. I wanted to contribute some energy to orange and black. I wasn’t evaluating, I was rooting.
I have nearly always followed Detroit teams. Rarely was I choosing them for their record. I was listening for Ernie Harwell’s voice, I was watching for Sparky Anderson to spit and kick at dust.
Is it possible that some of the oddity about American politics is that we’ve confused political parties with sports teams? That Rubio’s “take-down” of Obama’s mosque visit was some crowd cheer that didn’t have to be true to be fun?