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Sunday, September 21, 2003

THIS ONE, NOT THAT ONE 

While I have football on my mind, I should give a nod to Saint Paul at Fraters Libertas for his report on the apparent political proclivities of Robert Smith. I always liked Smith a lot when he played for the Vikings, and not just or even primarily for his skills, considerable though they were. His intelligence and poise shone through in every interview, and his perspective on pro football was uncommonly long, as evidenced by his decision to walk away from the game figuratively while he could still do so literally and by the measured, "hey, it's only a game" tone of his comments following the Vikes' monumentally inexcusable loss to Atlanta in the 1998 NFC title game (comments which many at the time found grating--phone home, Atomizer--but which look better and better in the cool light of retrospection).

But what I liked best about him was his post-touchdown routine: he would simply toss the ball to an official and jog back to the bench, his expression calm and unchanged throughout. No pandering to the drunken yokels in the end-zone grandstands, no rain dances or pantomimes or epileptic fits, not even any whoopin' and hollerin'. He looked, in other words, like any guy who does his job and does it very well but finds it undignified to call attention to himself.

Is there a connection between such traits and sensible political views? Discuss.

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