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June 20, 2014

Soccer, Football and Voting

Harry M. Covert

The first leg of the political season comes to an end in four days when Tuesday’s primary voting for local and state offices stops. The real “knockdowns” then hit the streets, airwaves and printed pages almost immediately on the road to finality in November.


Does the phrase, “a time to weep, and a time to laugh” come to mind? It certainly will have some effects on winners and losers, including the voting public, and quite possibly for some time to come.


Today’s declamation joins others to encourage registered voters of all spectrums to mark those ballots. It is important. News recipients of print and broadcast certainly are aware of the growing turmoil around the globe. Maybe peace will remain in these environs.


Political fighting is alive and well. Frankly it can be disturbing to find the real truth. A wise old lady once said “tell the truth and shame the devil.” What a time facing “the good, the bad and the ugly.” I know everybody here in Frederick County is “good.”


Confession time requires that I’m not one watching, via television, the World Cup championship underway in Brazil. They call it really the world football classic. Well, that is not true. In this country, the alleged world’s most popular sport is soccer. What? I’ve never been able to get acquainted with the game. Seems like a larger version of what we used to play in grammar school – dodge ball.


Of course, in the sports crazy world, even in Frederick County, baseball, basketball and football – along with slow and fast pitch softball, golf and tennis and running, yikes – are honestly THE athletic preferences. The only soccer player I ever could remember is Pelé, considered the best ever. My heroes still are Charlie Keller, Mickey Mantle, Bobby Richardson, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Mel Allen.


One of the advantages of the Latinos infiltrating the U.S. is they like soccer. They do pack the stadiums. They buy the tickets, both legals and illegals.


As Americans born and bred in the states, we lean to baseball, basketball and football. In high school, back in the old days, we had to do a rope climb, at least twice a year in phys-ed classes. I never planned to be a paratrooper. Somehow, I made the assent.


A local sports radio station is airing the FIFA games live. I gave up trying to follow the descriptions. No one was hitting a four-bagger, or singling, or walking, no mention of a southpaw, lefthander, right-hander or hit-by-pitcher, of WHIP, a long reliever or closer.


Soccer moms? Sounds nice but there is no shortage, thankfully, for moms and dads leading their youngsters, boys and girls, to the baseball parks. Even the t-ball players for the tiny ones show their elders, the superannuated ones, they could possibly play again.


Those soccer moms could well be good to drive voters to the various polls. Could be a better than average turnout.


In my days of “public service,” I spent a decade officiating basketball and football and umpiring scholastic and collegiate baseball including a Class A minor league game. An awesome experience long remembered.


The association had many good umpires. One spring afternoon, seemed like every high school, public and private, in Central Virginia had baseball games. Also happened that at an important military school, soccer was also on tap and one of the officials was ill.


At the last minute, this correspondent was begged to fill in. I explained I wasn’t plugged in about the rules. I did know it was running, running and more running. No time outs.


En route to the school, I received a quick clinic. “Just remember, if the ball goes outside, just say “play on. The players know what to do.”


It was like going to vote for the first time. The game progressed, parents filled the venue, yelling and screaming for their sons. The unusual thing was no coaches challenged the officials, no boos from the stands and no complaints.


Game fees had been paid before the start so, anxious and tired, I wanted to get away quickly.


Leaving the field, my referring partner and I were accosted by both coaches. I figured some disagreements would finally make it. What a shock. “You guys did a great job, the best officials we had all year.”


Turning to my colleague, I said, “Play on. Let’s get out of here.”


I know more about balls and strikes and elections. I’m keeping it that way and will be casting my ballot at the Talley Rec Center.


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