Diary

The Miami Heat Vs. The Green Bay Packers – Sport As Metaphor For Modern America.

United States – LeBron James, Miami Heat. Both egomaniacs who/which can be totally oblivious to what other people/countries feel, which cause a lot of hate and anger. Both have weaknesses that they totally should not have. (James, total absence of a post game despite having the body of a power forward, the U.S. a miserably bad education and healthcare system despite having the most money in the world.) Yet when push comes to shove, there should be no doubt who/which is the best in the world.

– Askakorean compares the US economy to a well-known NBA star. (HT:askakorean.blogspot.com)

If you’ve ever gotten to know Koreans on a personal basis, they’ve got a most endearing quality. They practice a uniquely maddening form of diplomacy. They will rip you a new, bloody rectal orifice in the kindest, most well-mannered way imaginable. I mean sure these guys just managed to call me an oaf, a lay-a-about, a ne’er-do-well and a wasted sperm donation over dinner, but the Dolsat Bibimbap was really good and they were pretty cool about it. I think I’ll buy them a round of jinro soju because I’m so much more rico and suave after five of them.

The subtlety in the choice of LeBron James as a representation of the US economy should be lost on nobody. LeBron has mad game, lots of bling, adoring fans, vituperating enemies and The King James Hummer. He has how many NBA titles? Take that number and divide something by it in your C++ Code, and you’d better hope the exception handling is truly first rate. It’s Askakorean’s subtle, yet pointed way of letting us know how people from other parts of the world view American Exceptionalism.

Now I could spend the rest of this post slagging poor Askakorean down. He admits to being an LA Lakers Fan. There’s something truly wrong with those people….

Instead, I’ll assume Askakorean has a point. He was diplomatic about it, so I’ll take it as constructive criticism. And in the process, I’ll discuss how we should view ourselves in order to become a real nation of champions. Rather than being LeBron, I’d prefer us to be Green Bay Packers Coach Mike McCarthy.

Mike McCarthy, like LeBron, is darn good at what he does. Like LeBron, he takes pride. Prior to taking the field against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV, he made sure every player on his team had their fingers measured for the rings.

The Green Bay Packers players talked a lot about being confident during Super Bowl week. On Saturday night, Mike McCarthy showed his players just how confident he was. The team’s head coach had his players fitted for Super Bowl rings on the eve of the Super Bowl.

(HT: Wbay.com)

McCarthy, rather than announcing his big moves on “The Decision” a la LeBron; just went about doing them. He believed in himself, he believed in his people, he did what was needed. McCarthy described his mindset prior to the game as follows.

“As the players got into it, you could see they had the confidence, you could see the excitement. We felt we were a better team than Pittsburgh. No disrespect for them, we really respect the way they play. We knew they were going to be a physical, tough football team, but we felt we were a better football team coming in here and we needed to go out and prove it. That’s why we were so confident.”

(Wbay.com, Ob. Cit.)

McCarthy lacks the diplomatic dizzle of Askakorean, but he makes some equally valid points. His ability to get things done when necessary has no dependence on tearing down others. That’s because Mike McCarthy likes himself and his team. He can look in mirror and honestly say “It’s all good.” That’s not a brag, it’s just an authentic statement of existential condition. The guy is obviously who he wants to be. Thus, he can say nice things about Mike Tomlin and The Steelers – and then proceed to kick their @$$es.

Even more importantly, he felt no Green Bay Packers Exceptionalism. He knew his team was good, he liked the guys he had, but he knew there was no guarantee that a Green Bay Packers’ Jersey equaled an automatic title. He could feel good all he wanted; but his team still needed to go prove it. That’s the type of place America needs to be again – the place that proves it. When we can once more prove, that will feel pretty darn exceptional.

Proving it confers true, not illusory, Exceptionalism. Take the same C++ routine, take out the logic error you get from putting the number of NBA Titles LeBron James has won. Replace it with the number of Vince Lombardi Trophies Mike McCarthy’s teams have recently won. Watch it run successfully. Collect your data. Have an awesome day. Whether on the gridiron, or inside the cage; ball don’t lie!

So to wrap up this cheesy bout of sports analogies, the US is currently an impressive-looking, hopey-changy-we-were-waiting-for type of a place that can’t truly get anything useful done to solve its increasingly overwhelming laundry list of existential threats. LaBron James scoring 35 points and losing a pivotal playoff game.

This is true because we are too self-centered and self-doubting a nation. We don’t even like ourselves and yet have the audacity to expect deference for others. Boy, we sure saved their sorry butts from Hitler 65 years ago!

Mike McCarthy Nation would never go to Egypt and apologize for its continued existence to a group of people who favor stoning adulterous women in public by a 70-30 margin. It would also never walk around claiming to be “The World’s Indispensible Nation.” McCarthy Nation would believe it was “The Shining City, Upon the Hill,” but it would also never rest upon its entitlement-mentality laurels until the truth of that belief was verified through the actual state of the world around us.

People with this humble, yet ambitious, view of their role in the world will seek office in America. We still have hope that won’t deprive of us of too much of our change. I’m optimistic enough about what I believe to believe these people like Mike McCarthy will seek to serve America under the banner of The Republican Party. Yet I am realistic enough to fully comprehend that the Grima Wormtongue party establishment will undermine these people to save their own unearned sinecures. In the battle for the soul of the GOP, only the dead have seen the end of war.

I hope we shepherd our party’s answer to Mike McCarthy through the GOP’s cynical and dysfunctional primary election season. Election 2012 reminds me of a critical juncture in this year’s Super Bowl Game. Packers’ Assistant Coach, Kevin Greene grabbed Outside Linebacker Clay Matthews, Jr. and got in his face. “Now is the time!” He yelled. “Now is the time!” Let us do next what Clay Matthews, Jr. did next in the Super Bowl. It is time to grab the ball and put LeBron James Nation to bed…

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