Wa have a new president who plays pickup basketball games, the first in history to bring what players call round ball to the White House. His partner Biden confines his sport to riding the train and trying to rid pro sports of anabolic steroids. The just exiting occupants are a runner and an old man who goes fishing, and shoot birds and an occasional friend .
Threw him a curveball, slam dunk, third and long -- sports metaphors have a major place in the American lexicon, but we need to delve into the argot and practices of pickup basketball if we want to understand the man who becomes president January 20, 2009.
In a pickup b-ball game, players have no referees, so everyone is expected to call his own fouls, i.e., if you foul someone, you have to call it on yourself. Now try to imagine an American politics where players call fouls on themselves, where John McCain says, "Wait, Barrack, my foul when I said you were a Marxist who hung around with terrorists. Stop, I admit I screwed up, rewind, take the ball out of bounds, and lets get the game going again."
Try to imagine a game where everyone understands the limits of bad behavior, and everyone abides by an unspoken gentleman's agreement to knock it off. Pickup basketball is a collaboration, and we should expect our roundball playing president to understand the value of playing with the best guys he can find on his side, to respect the talents of his opposition, and even when it costs him an advantage, to call his own fouls. Imagine that. Nov. 10, 2008