That’s a joke. Sort of…

From anybody else, it might be ripe for ridicule. But McCain has staked some fame on his come-from-behind, underdog status. After all, look at where he was last Fall, and the fact that he is one of two candidates for president today.

“We’re going to be in a tight race and we’re going to be
up late on election night. That’s just — I’m confident of that. I’ve
been in too many campaigns, my friend, not to sense that things are
headed our way,” McCain said Sunday on Fox News. 

“I love being the underdog. You know, every time that I’ve gotten
ahead, somehow I’ve messed it up,” the Republican candidate said.

And, in spite of most polls and the new endorsement by Gen. Colin
Powell (not to mention the thrust of nearly all the elite
media)….McCain’s camp has some mojo. Like Yogi (purportedly) said, ‘it
ain’t over ’till it’s over’.

This
is good, for those of us who enjoy sports metaphors and long-shot,
cinderalla stories. (Okay, bear with me on this, because it’s been
rough going for sports fans in Chicago and this guy has a really good
analogy.)

If you went to the University of Florida when I did, you
know heartache. In my freshman year, we lost the first game, tied the
second, and lost everything else.  Then, the following year, we were up
by one over the hated Georgia Bulldogs. Ninety seconds left, Georgia on
their own seven… we’re gonna win! Buck Belue rolls into his own end
zone, hits Lindsey Scott on the 25… and time slows to a crawl… That
magnificent bastard runs all the way back for the touchdown. That was
the worst 20 seconds of my young life.

The last six weeks of McCain’s campaign have felt like those twenty
seconds — replayed endlessly, every day. Just slow-motion, open-mouthed
disbelief.

There comes a point when you are down late in the game and the team
morale will break one way or another. When they know they’re beaten you
see it in the play calling and in the faces on the bench. The fans are
sullen. Most of them have left the stadium muttering about next year.

But now and then, down by 14 with less than 3:00 on the clock, you
can watch your guys sprint onto the field. No huddle. Quick slashing
passes to the sidelines. Stop the clock. First down.

When you see they mean to win this thing, no matter how far behind… something happens. The critical thing happens. The fans get in the game.

McCain may not necessarily have fans, but his base is in the game now.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....