Friday, June 06, 2008


The present political fixation with the allegedly unique attributes of Barack Obama is merely another instance of the human trait of seeking out supermen, masterminds and saviors. This activity actually happens every year in national sports, and the phenomenon is particularly prevalent in college football. Every year coaches resign and are fired, and fans of the affected team denigrate one candidate or another, thinking that merely accomplished mortals stand in the way of the team finding teh "wizard."

Presently, there are a few coaches that bear the Wizard mantle, with Pete Carroll being the most obvious. Larry Coker, Bob Stoops, Bobby Petrino, Nick Saban and Jim Tressel have also ehld the title at one time or another. The fact is though, that there are no wizards. There is no one who has figured out something or who has some intangible gift that delvers success beyond that which can be explained by competence, experience, hard work and a little luck. Agood football coach will lose one out of every five times he takes the field. An exceptional coah will lose one out of every six. And that is not one out of five or six games against top ten opponents; it is against all-comers.

Every coach gets outcoached, has bad days and is beaten by inferior opponents. There are no Wizards in college football, or in world leaders. Great men like Churchill and Lincoln had their blunders, off days and fiascos. Every year some anointed coaching mastermind, who has let expectaions rise to an undefeated national championship, will lose a game that leaves fans wondering if maybe it's not time for a change. We can expect the same thoughts about our political leaders every election as well.

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