Frankie Frost/Marin Unbiased Journal

Barry Tompkins

Let me start this with full disclosure. My deadline for this weekly yarn is midday Thursday. So, there’s a great likelihood that by the point you end your morning bagel on Sunday we might very effectively have had full affirmation of a brand new president. For that matter, we’d have been invaded by squadrons of little inexperienced individuals from the planet Yetz, or sucked right into a sinkhole the dimensions of Brazil. One factor I really feel fairly sure about is that we’ll nonetheless be mired in consternation of some kind.

I bear in mind when elections have been comparatively uneventful issues. You merely chiseled the identify of your required candidate right into a slate pill, signed it with a easy “X” and dropped it (fastidiously) on the doorstep of your polling place, which, satirically, was an actual pole.

OK, I’m not likely that outdated, however I do bear in mind displaying up at my polling place, often the native grammar college fitness center, which all the time smelled like a mixture of grandma’s attic and discarded sweat socks, and being confronted with a curtained voting sales space that was as welcoming as a fuel chamber.

As soon as inside you have been confronted with roughly a 100,000 little levers, which corresponded with each identify and proposition on the poll. I used to be by no means certain if I’d simply voted for my selection as president or for Sister Growth Growth for supervisor (sure, there actually was a Sister Growth Growth). The propositions have been as constantly worded then as they’re now — whereby you had no concept if “sure” meant you have been in opposition to it and “no” meant possibly.

But, ultimately, these large intimidating contraptions in some way managed to transmit their non-public info to a secret room someplace in America the place they have been tallied and authenticated (I consider by a platoon of out-of-work bean counters, the very best of which went on to hold the briefcase containing the Academy Award winners for that 12 months).

The knowledge was then magically transmitted to the three tv networks, the place Walter Cronkite and his friends would inform America who the subsequent president was via one thing as subtle as chalk and a blackboard.

Then, there could be the magnanimous acceptance speech of the winner who would thank each child he kissed on the marketing campaign path whereas his soon-to-be first girl stood beside him smiling and pondering, “A lot for bowling and margarita nights with the ladies.”

After which there may be the concession speech from the vanquished. Typically, this entails the smiling loser thanking his minions and congratulating the winner whereas inwardly gnashing their tonsils. It ends, inevitably, with a political Kumbaya.

Till now.

Politics, just like the sports activities world I occur to reside in, consists fully of profitable and shedding. And ultimately, there is just one of every. I name a number of boxing matches lately and I’ve seen palms raised in victory that had no proper winding up that approach, however did. And when that call is reached there may be an inevitable conclusion. The 2 combatants embrace. It occurs in each combat whatever the end result. The reason is that these two fighters know that no mere mortal of their proper thoughts would ever have interaction in that form of mano-a-mano warfare. There’s a frequent respect, win, lose or draw.

I’ve seen fighters complain they have been robbed. I’ve seen them cry for a rematch. However I’ve but to witness a boxer say earlier than the combat, “If I lose, it’s mounted.” I’ve by no means seen a fighter demand the judges cease scoring within the tenth spherical. I’ve by no means seen litigation in opposition to a call. In a enterprise filled with thieves, there does appear to be some honor.

In contrast to politics.

Barry Tompkins is a longtime sports activities broadcaster who lives in Marin. Contact him at

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