Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Have you ever watched a boxing match, a basketball game, or even a swim meet--any intense competition? Competitors gear up, take to the ring, the court, or the pool, and prepare to give their best effort. Their preparation is intense and their hopes high. The goal is simple: win.
Real competitors--and I know because I'm one--don't usually embrace the "it's not whether you win or lose but how you play the game" concept, which was probably invented by some kid's parent to make his child feel better after getting destroyed on the court. Real competitors don't snuggle up to "remember, it's just a game." As I told the first basketball team I ever coached, "You want to play a game, go play checkers. Here, we play basketball!" By the way, "Play for fun"? Not on my team; I learned very early on that there just ain't no fun in losing! So real competitors play to win. They step up to the challenge with a sense of focus and an intent to be victorious, to never let down, to refuse to succumb to any amount of pressure.
That's the plan, but as admirable as this "never let 'em see you sweat" ideal is--as familiar as it is to those of us who have ever left it all out on the court, or the field, or wherever--the truth is that as the competition progresses, the legs lose their lift, the arms lose some flex, and the body simply loses speed. This becomes the reality no matter the intent. Yes, the good ones find a way to dig deep, but even still, they are affected--if not conquered--by fatigue that comes from taking the punches, the bangs, and the bruises. It's common. It's human nature. It's life.
Then there are the competitors who are otherworldy. They defy nature. There's nothing common about them. They never stop moving. They never stop being on the offensive. They handle every defense thrown at them. They're not just good; they're special. In the world of basketball, Michael Jordan was one such athlete. So was Cynthia Cooper. Today, it's Kobe Bryant. These type of people come along very rarely in a lifetime. They set their eyes on a target and nothing short of tying them down and locking them up will keep them from getting out there and being competitive.
Governor Palin is one such person. This was the case long before we ever knew who she was. As a basketball player, she played on a broken ankle. As a business owner, she fished with a broken hand, as documented by Joe Hilley. As a mother, she was back on the job within three days of giving birth. Each time there was work to be done, and sitting it out just wasn't an option. "No pain, no gain," as they say. So real competitors say, "Bring it on!"
All these years later, not much, if anything, has changed. The Governor is a person who absorbs punch after punch and rides wave after wave, without seeming to lose the slightest bit of strength or effectiveness in the process. With all she's been put through, she continues on--and never misses a beat. After every attack, there she is--still moving forward, still swinging, and the thing that drives the Left the craziest, still smiling. She is like that champion who simply cannot be defeated because she won't throw in the towel. Nevermind the full-court press, the dirty fouls, the low blows, the attempts to drown her in a sea of lies. Governor Palin won't sit on the end of the bench and hide. She simply won't take a breather. Thus, she wears out her opponents, who simply cannot keep up.
This is why she is so hated by the Left. They've tried it all. Nothing works. How does one defeat an opponent who won't go away, who can't be annihilated? She is to them what nightmares consist of: an enemy that cannot be destroyed no matter the tactic employed. To those who oppose fiscal responsibility, the Constitution, national security, and American exceptionalism, I have this to say: "be afraid; be very afraid!"
Every time it appears they've got her backed in a corner, she takes the non-traversy, redefines it, and refuses to be sidetracked by it: They point out that she wrote on her hand--and she draws attention to the President's teleprompter and continues to use her own "poor man's teleprompter." They misquote her as saying she can see Russia from her house--and she reminds them that she can also see November from there. They use her title as a means to shackle her--and she steps away, proving she doesn't need a title to make a difference. They even move in next door--and she does something the feds should be doing in our border states: she builds a fence. She even follows up enjoying watching her daughter perform on Dancing with the Stars with a scathing tweet about Pete Rouse a couple hours later. Nothing, absolutely nothing, extinguishes her determination to keep the main thing the main thing. And that's why they'll never defeat her, and that's why they hate her.
Governor Palin's endorsements will continue to matter, her fundraising will skyrocket all the more, and she will remain a powerful force to be reckoned with because she cannot be conquered. From anonymous campaign staffers to cowardly Journolisters, from attacks on her family to crime at her church, from insane boob-gate to asinine boo-gate, she withstands each impact, and then releases another smackdown Facebook note like nothing ever happened. While continuing to smile, it's as if she says, "Is this the best you've got?"
These are crucial times, and much is at stake. That's why people who have never been involved politically are suddenly mobilized and mobilizing others. I coached for years, and never did I build a game strategy around a bench warmer, an injured athlete, or a spectator. No, those leading the charge will be hardest hit. And who has been hit harder than the Governor? Who would ever blame her if she packed it in and went home to the state she loves, the family who loves her, and the life they once knew? But isn't this what the Left wants? The fact that she won't do it is what they can't figure out. They stay awake at night contemplating why she isn't succumbing to the pressure, why she isn't pulling her jersey to sit out the fourth quarter, why she isn't in a fetal position on the hardwood floor, waiting for it all to end. They have no answer for her stamina, and she has no intentions to cave.
Every once in a while a competitor emerges with superb skill, undivided focus, and an unbending spine. These are the franchise players. Everyone is gunning for them, yet they never choke. They'll never be accused of going halfway, nothing will keep them from being out there where and when it matters, and they always find the strength to push past the limitations that constrain regular people. That's because they're not regular people. They're real competitors with a special something that drives them. Governor Palin has those championship qualities.
Governor Palin is working hard to take us where we need to go--back to common sense principles and practical solutions. Her refusal to be sidetracked will keep the target on her back. The Left's inability to knock her out of the race will only infuriate them more and make them more desperately seek new ways to cause her harm. If what we've seen so far is any indication, however, we can be sure that she will continue to take what they throw at her, handle it with grace, and fight like a Grizzly for the future of Team America. And like every real competitor--every champion--she'll win. And we'll win with her.