This past weekend marks the end of fall sports season for many families—whether your kids play soccer, baseball, softball, or field hockey, you’re off the hook for a few weeks. This Tuesday, the Presidential election starts the finale of a long, depressing campaign season. Two endings that seem completely unrelated, right? Not so. I can think of three ways that the final days of a Presidential campaign and the last day of fall kids’ sport seasons are similar.
- Everything gets a good cleaning.
Today, I cleaned all the petrified chicken nuggets from frantic fast food stops over the past nine weeks of coaching soccer out of the crevices of my car’s back seat. I vacuumed, sprayed, and scrubbed the entire vehicle so that it only smells slightly like a wet dog wearing soccer cleats.
Wednesday morning, I’ll finally be able to wash my eyeballs and ears clean from all the nasty campaign rhetoric of the past months. Unfortunately, some things are tough to unsee and unhear. On top of “deplorables,” “nasty women,” tax evasion, and questionable emails, we’ve been subjected to square pant suits and wacked comb-over. It’s going to take a lot of scrubbing.
2. All the junk gets put away.
I finally get to rid my car of the soccer balls, cleats, bags, and random chairs that have been knocking around in the back for the past months. I no longer have to try to wash and dry uniform parts frantically between games and practices. That whole soccer clothes business had gotten pretty out of control over the past week or so. I had done a fantastic job of keeping it all organized during the first couple of weeks. My motivation began to flag until it degenerated completely last weekend. I found a pile of rancid socks needed for a game under the sofa and a soccer shin guard in a plant as I was rushing around trying to get everyone out of the house for a game Saturday morning. The five year old ended up wearing his dad’s work socks. Hey—they were tall and black and covered the shin guards.
Now that all my sports stuff has been put away, all those road side political signs and nasty campaign commercials will go to the top shelf of the proverbial closet as well. No more will my Big Bang Theory episodes be interrupted by me running to the washing machine with stanky sports uniforms during a commercial break where Donald and Hillary are screaming about guns, discrimination, or Vladimir Putin. I also pray that once this is over, the only nuclear issue we face is the smell of my kids’ soccer cleats.
3. Now we can all be friends again.
We had a pretty good soccer season. We won some games, the volunteer head coach and I actually learned the rules of the sport, and I learned to make a play chart. The kids showed a great deal of growth in skill as well. We lost the first game of our tournament though. Not because our kids did anything wrong, but because the other team was simply better. In the end, all the kids high-fived, congratulated each other on a good game, and headed for the slushy truck together. It didn’t matter which team the kids were on, their only concern was conning us parents out of three dollar cups of ice covered with radioactive-looking, fluorescent-colored syrup.
On Wednesday morning, there probably won’t be high fives or conciliatory slushies. Let’s face it, one of these candidates will win. It may not be based on which is simply better, though. The winner may be the one Americans hate less, or the one with the fewest potential criminal charges.
Our candidates will most certainly not play nicely Tuesday evening, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t. This Presidential campaign has been the most divisive that I ever remember. Issues have emerged over the past couple of years that threaten to tear our country apart. We Americans are better than this. We don’t have to agree, but the country needs us to manage our differences. The world is watching to see if we can pull it back together. We can learn a lesson from a bunch of kids lining up to high five each other at the end of a game. We will not all be happy with the outcome of this election, but I strongly believe the fate of our nation rests on our ability as neighbors and citizens to come back together. I have faith that we can do it. And when we find that middle ground, I’ll bet there’s a slushy truck there waiting for us! I just hope that when this is all said and done the syrup won’t be too radioactive.
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