Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Put Out That Cigarette!

One year in high school, I played on a JV football team that sucked. Through a convoluted set of circumstances, I was converted from being a decent running back to an undersized quarterback, playing behind an even more undersized line and specializing in running for my life. We'd go up into the mountains to play tough, small town varsity teams composed of ranchers' and miners' sons, and come back to town beaten, mad and looking for fight.

Later, we'd go up to kids outside the dance hall and tell them to put out their cigarettes. They would. We'd try various versions of "are you calling my buddy a liar?" and people would back down. We'd drive up and down North Avenue, glaring at every car we passed until all that was left were the cop cars. No takers. Everyone recognized there's only one thing more dangerous than a victor, and that's somebody just coming off another frustating loss.

Unless, maybe, they're a liberal.

Threatening to punch out someone after the game didn't erase our losses to Nucla, Meeker and Hotchkiss. More letters to the editor about WMD in Iraq and endless Ohio recount challenges seem to be in the same league. Progressives need to kick some butt on the field in the games ahead.

The end to my little tale... The next year, after a rocky 0-4 start, we knocked off the number 2 team in the state and finished 5-5 in the big school division. The moral? Oh, jeez, I've already hauled out a corny high school football metaphor. I'm not going to compound it.

When I started this blog, I swore I was going to conduct myself with more decorum than a testosterone-crazed 17-year-old. Or Bill O'Reilly and Michael Moore, for that matter. But my wife says maybe I'm being too temperate, and when your wife says something like that, a wise man takes stock.

We've got work ahead of us to rethink our message and approach to the electorate, but that doesn't mean we have to breathe neo-con smoke in the meantime.

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