Monday, November 3, 2008

THE MOMENT is almost upon us?

Back in the 70's when I was a youngster it seemed that there were only two football teams to choose between. You were either a Dallas Cowboys fan or a Pittsburgh Steelers fan. Although I lived in New York City (Da Bronx!), rooting for the Giants or Jets never crossed my mind. Some time after a Steelers dynasty that included four championships in a span of six years came to an end, I switched my allegiance to the hometown Jets. I've been mostly suffering for that decision ever since. But before the years of heartache started I was treated to a display of total dominance by the Steel Curtain. The locquacious Terry Bradshaw still had his hair as he threw touchdowns left and right and up the middle, Franco Harris was stomping over helpless defenders, Lynn Swann was poetry in motion (years before becoming a Republican politician of all things), and Mean Joe Greene turned brutality into an art form. As brightly as the stars shone in Dallas while their cheerleaders rooted the Cowboys on so prettily, they simply were no match for the mighty Steelers. I realized that I was witnessing something special.

I also understood as a young boy that I would not be seeing a black man sworn in as President of the United States of America any time soon. I've never asked my parents if they hoped before I was born that I would one day grow up to be a doctor or lawyer or some other prestigious occupation. I do know they came here from the Virgin Islands in part because they wanted a bright future for me. They envisioned a college education in my future even though they never really pushed the issue. They simply stressed the importance of getting and respecting a good education and allowed me to push myself. But if they were being realists as they tried to forecast what was in store for their first born child, President of the country was probably not on their wish list. A white collar desk job was probably sufficient.

Now I'm a grown man of 40+ years with a child of my own, plus a college degree earned and a job behind a desk that I would leave to write for a living in a heartbeat. Along with the rest of my countrymen I stand on the verge of something remarkable. Tomorrow is election day and a black man is on the ballot as Democratic nominee. He is even ahead in the polls, though I'm afraid to put much trust in them. As does just about ever Jets fan I firmly believe in jinxes. If all goes according to plan and prayer, Barack Obama will become President of the United States. This biracial man with brown skin and foreign sounding name just may come to embody the realization of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream. Courtesy of the efforts of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obaman, I have come to live in a day and age where wanting my daughter to become President one day is not such a kooky notion after all.

But before we get to Tuesday we need to make it through Monday night, Monday Night Football to be specific. Last weekend my cousin brought the following piece of information to my attention that I have since verified. As the Washington Redskins go on the Sunday prior to election day, so goes the nation. Thanks to the research of the Elias Sports Bureau's Steve Hirdt, we learned in 2000 that when the Redskins would win their last home game before a presidential election, the incumbent party held on to control of the White House. When the Redskins lost their last home game before the election, the out-of-power party took over. It has worked out this way every time dating all the way back to the franchise's first game in Washington in 1937.

So being superstitious when it comes to football and miracles, tonight I will root like crazy for my first favorite football team - the Pittsburgh Steelers. The next day I will cast my ballot and root like crazy for John McCain and Sarah Palin to become footnotes in American history. It is time for a new day. Change is fine for a slogan but insufficient for this country. What we truly need is transformation. And we may be no more than a day away from one starting to take place. My fingers are crossed as my hopes take flight.

Opinion of Roy L. Pickering Jr.

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