By George Noga
College football season kicks off soon; it is therefore apropos to relate a football story that embeds a teaching moment for another season that traditionally begins immediately following Labor Day weekend.
Some years ago a football superpower, playing a big game at home, fell behind during the first two quarters because of the starting quarterback’s insipid play. The crowd began clamoring for a new quarterback believing a change to be their only hope for winning the game.
The fans were so vociferous in demanding a new quarterback, a newbie was inserted to start the third quarter. At first, the fan’s hopes seemed justified because the new QB seemed bright and exuded enormous confidence in the huddle. Although the new guy never before had played in a big game, he nonetheless possessed unlimited confidence in his abilities and derived inordinate satisfaction in both his physical and mental prowess.
Sure enough, during the third quarter the crowd’s hopes for the QB change appeared to be validated as the home team’s fortunes seemed, briefly at least, to be waxing. As the third quarter continued however, the new quarterback began to struggle. During the fourth quarter he came totally unglued – fumbling, throwing an interception in his own end zone and making numerous other costly mistakes and penalties.
Toward the end of the game when it was obvious he was going to lose badly, he was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for trashing a referee over a disputed call. This last ungracious act lost him the support of his erstwhile fans including many of the ones who had clamored for his insertion into the game.
But the young new quarterback’s most bizarre behavior was yet to come. At the post-game press conference, he vehemently and persistently blamed the loss of the game on the starting quarterback.
In his mind he had made no mistakes whatsoever; everything was the fault of the quarterback who had started the game and, of course, the referees. He even turned on the fans who, toward the end, began to boo his increasingly boorish behavior. Narcissistically, he blamed his own fumbles, penalties and interceptions on the starting QB because it was he who had gotten the team behind at the very beginning of the game.
Football – The Economy – Cabbages and Kings
Okay, this story was a thinly veiled parable about President Obama and the economy. It was however precisely accurate; to wit. The US economy was weak when Obama was elected in November 2008 – about half time of the recession.
The recession ended in June 2009 and a recovery began. By summer 2010 (midway though the third quarter) the economy was growing at just under 4% and there was at least some basis to believe things were improving.
Starting July 2010 the economy has tanked and we have sunk to growth rates well below our historical average. Since that time (during the fourth quarter) the economy is growing at a dismal 1.6% rate and trending sharply lower – 1.5% for the quarter just ended June 2012. It is crystal clear the US economy entered a new slump beginning in July 2010 and it continues to spiral downward as the fourth quarter nears its end this November.
What has happened since July 2010 is due entirely to fumbles, interceptions and penalties by the newbie QB and can’t be blamed on the starter. Not only did the new QB play badly, he is a solipsist, narcissist, whiner – and a bad sport to boot.
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