The people's choice

by Lou Scerra | 11/10/00 6:00am

The last two days in the United States have caused clamoring in the nation for a complete upheaval of the Electoral College and other major tenets of our political process. Perhaps the newsmakers of the front page merely need to flip to the back to learn their lesson.

The world of sports seems leaps and bounds ahead of politics in its preparation in the "unlikely event of a tie." The organizations, heads and officials involved with the rules of these games understand that ties are only unlikely until they actually happen.

Coin flips, penalty kicks, overtimes, extra times, Miller time, shootouts, sudden death, golden goal, 12-point tiebreakers, extra innings. These are what attempt to prevent chaos in individual games in the world of sports, and yet an increased degree of entropy ensues when discussing playoff positioning and other assorted ties. To figure out who plays whom in the NFL playoffs, you need a Periodic Table, an Oxford English Dictionary, a Buffalo nickel, a pair of dice and a large roulette wheel.

Sports aficionados don't want ties. They deserve better and demand as much. And so should our nation in its search for its 43rd president.

And where better to look for help than to the world of athletics? I am not suggesting a battle of Gore's Tennessee Titans against Bush's run-and-shoot Houston Oilers of the 1980s. Instead I ask we hit the history books to truly determine exactly who won this election and I promise you it will have nothing to do with ballot boxes, a confusing ballot format or unreceived returns from overseas.

I now present a convincing body of evidence whose precision and accuracy will be difficult to refute. For sake of brevity, we'll stick to the Big Four major sports minus hockey, whose Campbell and Wales conferences make life too complicated.

In professional basketball, during the last 10 election years, there seems to be a direct correlation between the Democratic Party and the Eastern Conference as well as the Grand Old Party and the West. Nine of the last 10 election years when a particular party's "Conference" won the NBA title, that party went on to win the election.

Clearly these politicians were smart enough to use positive thinking and inspirational fervor from the NBA Finals to spur on their staffs to presidential victory. Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant showed the United States how the West was won, so George W. Bush has one vote from basketball.

A similar tabulation can be formulated if you examine the last eight MVPs of the NFL during election years. In all of those except for one, when a Democrat has won the White House, an NFC player has claimed the Most Valuable Player award. Therefore, when a Republican grabs Pennsylvania Avenue, a player in the American Football Conference garnered the prize.

Last year's winner? Kurt Warner. St. Louis Rams. NFC. That evens the score at one between the forever-linked Bush and Al Gore.

Where else would we go besides baseball, our national pastime, to decide who will become the first president of the new millennium?

It seems as though every Floridian now believes that his or her ballot was double-marked, smudged, mutilated and/or tampered with in some way. No democratic process is perfect, but they are fair. The election is coming down to every single vote in the state of Florida, and I sincerely hope that democracy rules over semantics in finding the next president. I hope that the authorities find out what is fair and democratic and do not allow those searching for 15 minutes of fame to tarnish the process.

Perhaps they should take note of our ballot, which seems fair, unbiased and absolute, despite the fact that some would call our sports indicators unscientific and ridiculous.

I know. I hear the murmurs already. You might think these are unreliable and inane indicators. But, while you can argue with projections and ballot layouts, you can't argue with results.

This final one may sound like a bit of a stretch, but pay attention because this is scientific stuff we're dealing with here.

Over the last 10 elections, only once has this rule of thumb been broken. When a rookie starts in the All-Star Game, a Democrat claims the White House. When the starters are all wily veterans, Republicans lead the nation.

Look back at this year's box score and you'll see that "Dubya" squeaked a narrow victory over the vice president. And we did not even have to mention what color underwear the rightfielder was wearing on that day.

So I ask you, would you rather have the election decided by the unimportant, the silly and the irrelevant? Or through the world of sports?

Advertise your student group in The Dartmouth for free!