In November 2008, Washington Democrats fans were feeling all right.
They had just witnessed their team's old-fashioned steamrolling of the crosstown rival Republicans. They had seen the hiring of new head coach Barack Obama, a young and fiery up-and-comer who was regarded as a good recruiter and quite possibly THE guy to really put things together for a serious run at winning it all.
Right away, he landed a couple of blue-chip, can't-miss players: a strong-armed quarterback named Reid and a leather-skinned hard-nosed ballhawk of a linebacker named Pelosi. Both are left-handed, a quality Coach Obama highly values in his recruits. The fan base was rejuvenated, athletic director George Soros was dancing in time to media praise, and the program was poised to begin a long period of unquestioned dominance. A dynasty, some said, and it certainly looked that way.
In short, the pieces were in place, and fans had reason to Hope, for a Change.
Now, however, with just seconds before halftime, things aren't looking as hopeful. The Republicans have been surprisingly plucky and resourceful despite a smaller line and muddled on-field leadership, having unveiled a newly-developed stonewalling play they simply call "NO" with surprising success. The Democrats have had their victories along the way, to be sure, running the Health Care Reform spread and pushing their Stimulus Package offense in a bull rush right over the goal line. Despite the Democrats' early flurry of scoring, however, the momentum has shifted to the Republicans in the second quarter, and they appear to be poised to take the lead going into halftime.
What will the second half bring to this matchup? There's no doubt that Coach Obama will be undaunted by the Republicans' strong push and will use every tactic at his disposal to execute his game plan, but will it be enough to carry the day? Will the Republicans ride the wave of momentum to victory, or will these rivals play to a deadlocked tie with neither accomplishing anything of note, slogging through the mud and exchanging blows? Only time will tell.
At the end of the day, the most important question is this: will the players in this twisty drama remember the reason they're there in the first place? Will they remember the fans, without whom they'd be relegated to the bench and fade into anonymity? Will they toe the line and give the fans a reason to cheer again? One would hope so, because if not, the fans will be the only real losers in this game.
Please vote tomorrow!