Let’s start by making two basic assumptions:
• Anyone who thinks that the SoBoCo girls basketball team will win anything less than 25 games and a state championship clearly should have their head examined.
• It clearly seems now that Donald Trump will be heading to the White House, we can expect more things made in America, cheaper health insurance and a big wall on the Mexican border.
That might be the prevalent thinking. But over the years I have learned that anytime anyone utilizes the word “clearly” in conjunction with sports or politics, they stand a very good chance of being surprised – again.
A wise man recently wrote concerning Wall Street and investments in the coming year: “The worst possible moment to make a durable decision is when you are surprised by what just happened.”
Most Eagles basketball fans were pleasantly surprised that this group of girls – nine seniors on this year’s team – got past the Cardinal Ritter quarterfinal and into last year’s Final Four.
And regardless which candidate you supported, most were a bit surprised with the outcome of last week’s election – even if it were by the margin of victory Mr. Trump prevailed.
The word “clearly,” or some variation thereof, has nearly been stricken from the sportswriter’s arsenal of words when referring to college football, however, “clearly” still creeps up when over-enthusiastic reporters get a sense that they know what is about to happen next.
It often doesn’t.
There are several consensus views on what is about to happen with President-elect Trump’s first 100 days. Similarly, there is no shortage of opinion about the glory our Eagles girls basketball team will bring to Southern Boone.
But the tide on the politics front may already be changing.
A Friday newspaper headline: “Trump Signals Shift on Obamacare” and accompanying story noted which parts of the “Obamacare disaster” (as Trump called it while campaigning) he would keep as a part of a national healthcare plan for the uninsured.
Similarly, the Eagles will take the court this season with a very large target on the backs of their jerseys. This is a team which, last spring, flirted with season-ending losses in both the district and Sectional games.
“Clearly” the Eagles were going to be defeated by the bigger, more athletic Cardinal Ritter team again in the quarterfinal last season, as they had been the previous year.
And “clearly” President-elect Trump will continue his bombastic public declarations and follow through with his “drain the swamp” pledge.
“Clearly” the Eagles are on the threshold of basketball greatness and a state title.
But surprise being what it is, disorienting and forcing us to believe a different reality than what we believed to be happening, can change the way we react to events.
“Clearly,” news media told the country, the election was Hillary’s to win. When she didn’t, protests erupted.
“Clearly” the Eagles carried all sorts of momentum to the Final Four, only to falter in the second half of both games.
“This is our year,” dozens of Eagles fans will tell you.
What portion of the new president voters can control is now out of their hands.
Which part of the Eagles team even coaches can control is limited to who is playing the game at a given time.
Surprises in politics and basketball are a given. We get carried away by the appearance of things – whether we are fans, voters or dispassionate observers.
The only thing undoubtedly clear about the coming months is that the new president will make some decisions which make sense and others which will puzzle many of us.
The Eagles? “Clearly” they will compete hard. They are a terrific bunch of young ladies and they will make us proud, whether they win or lose.