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Sports and politics collide

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Isn't November great? It is for sports fans.

College football teams are making the final push for higher rankings and bowl eligibility. In Iowa, both the Hawkeyes and the Cyclones are in the mix.

With the ninth week of the season approaching this weekend, NFL teams are entering the second half of the season either looking to build momentum for the playoffs or throwing in the towel and focusing on the future by giving young talent a chance.

This region boasts the surprising 5-2 Chiefs and 4-4 Rams, the consistent 5-3 Packers and 4-3 Bears and the disappointing 2-5 Vikings.

As those teams are often underdogs, so were both the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers in March. But, that didn't keep them from matching up in the World Series, which just wrapped up with the Giants claiming a 4-1 series win.

Then there's the World Series of Poker Main Event Final Table on Tuesday, commonly referred to as the November Nine. Anyone who watches the spectacle knows poker should definitely qualify as a mental sport.

Speaking of mental sports, the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup is down to its last 1,400 miles to be completed over the next three weekends with Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson within 38 points of each other for the top spot.

But back to the physical sports, including hockey and basketball, which both tipped off their seasons recently.

Once snow starts flying, a whole other plethora of sporting options present themselves, but the sports season is busy as is.

Throw in Tuesday's election and November -- just four days old -- has already been a busy month, especially for more than two dozen candidates with sports ties.

The contest between Chris Dudley, a 16-year NBA center known for his abysmal free-throw shooting, and John Kitzhaber for governor in Oregon is still not decided, though projections show Dudley losing.

One of Dudley's former opponents, 7-foot-6 Shawn Bradley missed his chance in the Utah Legislature, just as former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon lost her bid for U.S. Senate.

Former Eagles lineman Jim Runyan knocked out Democrat John Adler for a U.S. House seat in New Jersey, Viking Hall of Famer Alan Page kept his seat on the Minnesota Supreme Court and former Arena Football League owner James Renacci won a U.S. House seat in Ohio.

Those were just a few of the winners and losers from the sports realm that became winners and losers in the political realm.

In some ways, politics and sports are similar.

They both require a lot of effort and tend to be more successful when there is more communication and cooperation.

They both have a draft of sorts.

There are even rankings and polls for both.

Politics is a team sport.

Unfortunately, Democrats and Republicans can't seem to figure out they're on the same team.

Gabe Licht
Junior Moments