My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.


Amazing Week In the Normal World 

Bloggers are a unique bunch, especially political bloggers. For the most part, they are WAY more interested in the world of public policy than most, and they tend to be vastly more informed about the goings-on in Washington and the corridors of power than most. And I include myself in that--I love sports, but if I watch SportsCenter at night, its almost always because its on in the background as I'm writing a post on this blog.

So it took a while for it to dawn on me that we've just passed a week that most people--men especially-- would consider one of the most extraordinary in their lifetimes. Consider:

:on Sunday, Alex Rodriguez became the youngest player ever to hit his 500th home run, right in the middle of a year in which he is almost certain to be the AL MVP

:only a few hours later, Barry Bonds hit his Hank-Aaron-tying 755th home run, forever guaranteeing him a place at the top of a near-mythological list; he would go on to hit the record-breaking homer just a couple nights later

:on Tuesday, Tom Glavine, by all accounts one of the best guys in the game, became quite possibly the LAST major league pitcher to win his 300th game

:on Thursday, a terribly flawed but imminently likable John Daly, ranked about 420th on the tour this year and given up for career-dead several times, teed it up at the PGA Championship and posted a 67, good for 2nd on the leaderboard after day one; he has since managed to stay in the game, if not on the leaderboard

:also on Thursday, another career-dead but likable guy, Rick Ankiel, made his return to the major leagues as a remade man, and marked the occasion by hitting a home run--almost bringing his skipper, Tony LaRussa to tears and to a thundering, standing ovation by the hometown Cardinals fans

:and Tiger Woods is poised to earn his 13th major championship at the PGA today, having a 3-stroke lead (now 2) as he smartly moves around the course with his foot on the throat of the competition

What I love about sports, and how it is vastly different the politics, and what I miss too much in my passion to watch the political class, is that sports often brings out the absolute, very best in people. Sure, it's not life-and-death, actual important stuff like serving in the military, but sometimes you see stuff that is truly inspirational.

And I'm not just talking about the record-setting brilliant sort of performances like Bonds and Woods--feats of athletic accomplishment that most of us can only shake our heads at in wonder.

In particular I'm talking about the moments of redemption from people who were once feted by the sports masses, but whose personal "issues" cast them from the limelight, and--in the way only the American Cult Of Personality can do--discarded them as flashes who were no longer meaningful. So when a John Daly goes out and has a brilliant day, followed by a very funny and human press conference, it gets my attention, regardless of how he finishes the week. And if you weren't moved by the scene from St. Louis this weekend (complete with the obligatory footage of Rick Ankiel throwing six pitches to the backstop in the 2001 playoffs), then you're a pretty cold person.

So, sure, sports doesn't really matter in the long run.

Except maybe, once in a while, we get a little glimpse of what is POSSIBLE for a person to accomplish. And that, for all of us, is a very good and important thing.

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