You're Fired | Private Eye | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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News » Private Eye

You're Fired



My favorite sport to watch is baseball. It's a team sport. Wrestling isn't one; neither is tennis. I presume there's an argument that doubles tennis qualifies as a team sport, but I don't buy it. Many tennis players are isolated, arrogant and selfish in all life matters, whether they play singles or doubles. The rest play tennis because it doesn't require much thought or strategy at the amateur level. I hit the ball over the net, then you hit the ball over the net. Then I hit it back. Then you do. Then, it doesn't go over the net or is called out of bounds. And that's that. You look at the sky, proclaim it a great day and go have a beer. Golf is like that, too, but the participants—except in the rarest cases—are more likeable.

A case can be made that baseball is barely above golf or tennis when it comes to being a true team sport since most of the action takes place mano a mano, pitcher vs. batter. In 1976, Texas Rangers shortstop Toby Harris played in both games of a doubleheader and never touched the ball once in either game. Because of such outlier events, some people actually do proclaim that baseball is not a team sport any more than wrestling or tennis are. Because, how can you be on a team and play no role in the outcome of a game?

It's true that in sports like ice hockey, soccer, basketball and football, the concept of team play is even more pronounced. While I may not understand a whit of what happens on an NBA basketball court these days, it's fairly clear to me that there is at least a concept of strategy and unity taking place on the court. Ice hockey appears to me to just be a series of random skids and bounces, but I've sat with people who understand the game (they might be the most passionate fans of any sport), and I come away convinced they are right, that the game is not random at all, I just can't see it.

That I can believe in something I can't see is not unique to me. Many of my friends and neighbors believe in a supreme being they cannot see. They call it faith. Another group of my friends and neighbors believe the movements of the sun and stars affect their daily lives. They call it astrology. Yet another group believes that a giant female panda at the edge of the world is breathing heavily, causing the trees in their yards to sway. They call it fantasy. Still another pod believes that tiny, infectious microbes can be spread from person to person, causing some of those persons to fall ill and die. They call it medical science.

There's even a group of people who believe that when they press a button on their computer that moves numbers from one computer bank account to another, it makes them richer or poorer for having done so. They call that economics. Those persons are sometimes prone to believe that the more zeros they have in their account, the better people they are. They are equally prone to defend to the very ends of the earth, to that place where the giant female pandas live, that anyone who helps them add zeros to their bank account is to be protected above all else. They call it, "I got mine, sucka."

Today, Team America is at an impasse. Nearly three quarters of polled Americans believe in the medical science that is currently driving the coronavirus dialogue and fear we can return to safe workspaces. Meanwhile, a sizeable group of Americans want to return to work under any circumstance and figure a bunch of zeros in a bank account is worth more than a crocheted doily from Gramma. Some who treasure their well-being are self-isolating to extremes even beyond that of what our scientists say. Among the persons wanting to go back to work are those shouldering automatic weapons while waving flags that indicate they support the losing side in the great American Civil War. We Americans seem to have lots of ideas on how to play the game, but we don't have a game plan. That's because we don't have a coach—we have a golfer.

Our golfer, Donald Trump, undermines his own team to his own benefit. He has somehow convinced half of America that 29,000 Italians died—and over a quarter million other persons worldwide—because of a "Democrat" plot to undermine his presidency. That's not what our allies believe. He's convinced half of America that we're in this mess because China lied about Coronavirus and withheld vital information from him. Yet, Croatia and Greece—with far less assets than the United States took pro-active steps to stop coronavirus. Trump's advisers knew that. Those two countries have not even suffered 300 deaths between them. Croatia and Greece are not golf countries. They are soccer and basketball countries.

Croatia and Greece trusted science. They made plans in order to save all their citizens, not fragments of them. They made a game plan, and they stuck to it. Trump didn't create the coronavirus, but he tried to manipulate it to his personal gain. He golfed, then he golfed some more. He's playing with rented clubs on a course he's never played. Plus, he cheats at golf, you know. He has no faith, no moon or stars. He wears no pinstripe. His fantasy is a giant female panda; he neither trusts scientists nor economists. He failed. It'll make great TV someday, and will it ever feel good when he's no longer "coaching" the team.

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