Sarah Palin was, by all accounts, one fine point guard when she was in high school. I wasn't. But there was something in her basketball description/analogy/metaphor that struck me as wrong, and I did play--and coach (not successfully). Here's what she said:
A good point guard drives through a full court press, protecting the ball, keeping her eye on the basket... and she knows exactly when to pass the ball so that the team can WIN. And I'm doing that - keeping our eye on the ball that represents sound priorities - smaller government, energy independence, national security, freedom! And I know when it's time to pass the ball - for victory.Some called the speech "rambling" and even "incoherent." With respect to Palin, beauty is most assuredly in the eye of the beholder, but even this paragraph won't serve as a model for clear writing. She says that a point guard should have her eyes on both the basket and the ball. What's right, in principle, is that a good point guard has to have his or her eyes on more than one thing--peripheral vision is a blessing.
But it strikes this ex-coach that if you've got a point guard who's looking at the ball, you're not going to win games, and you're not going to score like you could in a fast break. Good point guards don't watch the ball. What's more, if she's looking at the basket, you're not going to score well either, because she ought to be looking at her fast-breaking teammates. The talent of the finest point guards--junior high to NBA--is not their ability to watch the ball or see the basket, but their ability to shovel it off, which is why fine point guards lead the league in assists.
What you really want--or so it seems to this ex-coach--is a point guard who sees the other players and, only secondarily, the bucket, and certainly not the ball.
I'm tempted to say that something important is revealed in her description, but even if I'm right--even if Sarah Palin's real reason for resigning her governship is to collect on the fortune that is hers and her family's because of immense opportunities now offered her by her new-found fame and fortune--who cares? The Palins are not among the super rich. Let them go for the goal, for pity's sake. If she wants to keep her eyes on the money when she's running a fast break--if she wants to pull up and hit the jumper herself, fine. It's a free country, as we like to say.
Sarah Palin is a phenomenon, a woman who, like Obama himself, like Michael Jackson, creates throngs of devoted and passionate disciples. Wherever she goes, she draws a crowd. She can spit and fume and holler about the nasty, liberal mainstream press, but they love her--even when they hate her; without them, her only fans would be Alaskans. They've played a huge role in creating her. Yesterday, she dominated the talk shows, every one of them, Fox to MSNBC. Some hate her--no question; others would crown her Queen tomorrow, if they had the chance. She's a full-blown celebrity. Immense benefits accrue to celebrities, and problems--witness Jack-O.
And who knows, some loyal Republicans, even Palin-lovers who've questioned what on earth she's doing by retiring her governorship may be dead wrong. Maybe she's still got a political future--if not in 2012, how about 2024?
To heck with basketball, how about this? Sarah Palin just might take the money and run.