Illinois congressman, John Shimkus is taking heat for his comments in the House yesterday before that body voted to override the president's veto on an Iraq pullout. He used a sports metaphor to make his point, more specifically, a Cubs/Cardinals metaphor.
His argued that the game between the Cardinals, his beloved team, was tied going into the 15th inning. The Cardinals then decide to leave the field, quit the game, giving the victory to the Cubs. So it would be if we left Iraq before the war was won. "Who wins? We know it’s the team that stays on the field. Arbitrary deadlines and
a date certain accept defeat before the conclusion of the contest. It is our
national security interest that continue to take the field and support a
moderate Arab state. Leaving prior assures a loss for us and victory for our
opponents which will lead to another extremist Islamic state."
This statement has brought out protests from left leaning blogs, newspapers, and veterans, with those groups saying he has trivialized the life and death situation in Iraq.
Sports as metaphor for life is as old as man. They are found in Greek, Roman, Biblical writings. Take the Bible, for instance, certainly not a book which could by any stretch of the imagination be considered trivial.
The apostle Paul to Timothy: "Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the everlasting life to which you were called and which you confessed so beautifully before many witnesses." 1 Timothy 6:12
Paul to Timothy again: "I have fought the good fight; I have completed the race; I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7.
Hebrews 12:1: Now then, with all these witnesses around us like a cloud, let us also rid ourselves of every burden and the sin into which we easily fall and with patient endurance run the race that is laid out before us, looking to Jesus who gives us our faith from start to finish."
1 Corinthians 9:24-27: "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one wins the prize? Like them, run to win! Everyone who enters an athletic contest goes into strict training. Now, they do it to win a wreathe that withers, but we do it to win one that never withers. So I run with a clear goal ahead of me. I fight and do not just shadow box. Rather, I beat my body and make it my slave so that, when I have called others to line up for the race, I myself may not be disqualified."
Sports as metaphor for faith and eternal life. John's critics have no understanding of how sports metaphors have been a part of war, politics, religion, love, hate, etc forever. Speak so that your listeners may understand. John did that and did we understand?
As an added bit of trivia, Fight the Good Fight, a hymn written by John Monsell in 1863 was sung in the 1981 movie, Chariots of Fire.