Monday, October 12, 2009

Freshmen Don't Win the Heisman But Obama Wins the Nobel Peace Prize

Freshmen don’t win the Heisman Trophy do they? Well, it’s possible but hasn’t been done. From time to time there is a freshman who sets NCAA football on fire his first year but no freshman has ever won the award. And only 2 sophomores have done it.

Why? Well, the Heisman is awarded to the outstanding football player in NCAA football each year. It’s for individual accomplishment but it’s also more like an MVP award in terms of the player whose efforts and accomplishments contributed to the success of his team. Freshmen typically have to prove themselves for more than one season before being seriously considered for this honor.

Well that’s certainly interesting this time of the year when NCAA football is in full swing, when individual stats are starting to roll up, injuries are starting to take their toll on promising seasons and the talk starts to turn to the almighty BCS.

So where am I heading with this? Not football.

Pres. Obama was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize last Friday. I did a “tongue in cheek” blogpost suggesting that his reaction was probably the same as Ralphie’s in “A Christmas Story” when he was helping his Dad change a flat tire. “Oh, fuuuddddggge.”

I literally could envision Obama getting word of this honor over breakfast with Michelle and turning to her and groaning out “Oh, fuuudddggge.” I get the impression from his response about being humbled by the award that he realizes that he was like a Freshman receiving the Heisman based on talent and potential more than on his level of actual accomplishment.

I really wish that the Nobel Peach Prize had not been awarded to the President. He’s had a remarkable first 9 months in office but I’m having a hard time justifying just exactly what he’s managed to get done to facilitate, promote and achieve peace in this world in that period of time. He’s been more of a janitor—cleaning up the messes he was left with as of the date of his inauguration.

The man’s plate is so full that he just doesn’t need any more crap that distracts from the serious issues and threats to the nation’s economy or security or the welfare of its citizens. Every time he turns around there are insidious roadblocks thrown up by the opposition party, so-called experts, “pundits” and even from within the ranks of his own party and supporters.

This becomes a distraction. It is an honor and Obama has indeed been gracious about it. As have previous American Peace Prize honorees Jimmy Carter and Al Gore. As have members of the “loyal” opposition John McCain and Tim Pawlenty. But guys like GOP Rep. Gresham Barrett of South Carolina and others have been at their typically mean-spirited worst. There was even a comment made last Friday from one Republican expressing mock dismay that apparently there was now an “affirmative action” criteria for the Nobel Peace Prize.

That’s why this is a distraction. That’s why it would have been better for the Nobel Peace Prize Committee in Oslo to have either found another deserving candidate or, as has been done in the past, decline to present an award this year. With the way “peace” has been going in the world, it’s hard to find a legitimate candidate and maybe that would have been the best scenario.

As it stands, here is an honor which the President really hasn’t earned—yet. In coaching parlance, Obama has a "tremendous upside". I would have far preferred that the Committee wait until the President’s "upside" has been more fully realized when peace is not only “at” hand but “in” hand.

We have a freshman receiving an incredibly prestigious award. What’s he going to do for an encore, to prove that he deserved it in the first place?

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