Monday, October 04, 2010
And how did your team do this weekend?
For a long time now I’ve been rooting for the Neoliberals. I know, I don’t talk much about them on this blog, where my commentaries on sports have been confined to posts on hockey and the occasional stray comment on baseball or golf or Penn State women’s volleyball. But I’ve been following the Neoliberals ever since they started out as an expansion franchise in 1973, and it’s been most gratifying. They had some modest success in the New York area at first, taking advantage of the city’s financial crisis in 1975 and instituting some dynamic rules modifications that were truly game-changing. But it wasn’t until the advent of free agency in 1980 that the team really took off. Since then, they’ve been on a 30-year winning streak, and some people—including me!—now consider them unstoppable.
Their success can be attributed in part to their innovative “Rewarding Excellence” program, which concentrates the distribution of resources to top performers. The Neoliberals are in it to win it, year in and year out, and that’s why they’re not wasting time and money on poor or middling talent.
Perhaps most impressive, they’ve beaten their traditional rivals, Social Welfare State, for thirty consecutive years (often in routs), emphatically putting an end to State’s decades of dominance in head-to-head matchups. Even in years when SW State seemed to gain back some ground, in 1993 and 2009, the Neolibs’ smothering “Third Way” defense managed to hold their opponents to minimal, short-term gains and merely symbolic victories.
Still, they’ve had their setbacks now and then, like any team. Their deregulation campaign has always featured a strong offense, but occasionally an oil rig will explode or a financial system will collapse or a biosphere will degrade here and there. Thankfully, after seeing Gasland last night, I’m reassured that the team’s strong bipartisan support will ensure that high-energy players will never again be tied down by pesky nanny-state “holding” and “interference” regulations. Yes, the player pensions are still too high, and the league probably needs to appoint a blue-ribbon commission to look into alternative, personalized retirement systems. And the minimum salary and child-labor laws aren’t ideal, since they inhibit franchise growth and recruiting, respectively. But I have every faith that the Neolibs will overcome these obstacles just as they’ve triumphed over everything else, and find some way to combine 21st-century technology with 19th-century capitalism.
The Neoliberals: because it’s fun to root for a winner for a change.