Friday, October 9, 2009

The Shark Tank

This one's not about lacrosse. But, it does have a sports theme.
Have you ever seen the America's Cup on TV? It's the premier yacht race in the world. I realize that, for most people, watching yachting is not high up on the list of priorities, but, hey, I'll watch anything that has to do with competition.
The start of a yacht race is fascinating. There is a start line, but, as you might imagine, you can't simply line up two yachts on the line, fire off a gun, and off they go. The wind and waves prevent this. So, you have a curious situation where both yachts leave their moorings in the harbour, approach the start line, and then begin an amazing series of manoevers designed to get them into the most advantageous position when the cannon ( yes, it's a real cannon ) fires off, signalling the start of the race. The yacht with the better tactics can not only put themselves into a good start position, they can also try to fool their opponent into taking a worse position ( too far away from the start line, or in bad wind or rougher water etc.) giving the smart tactician even more of an advantage. If a yacht goes over the start line before the cannon, penalties and even disqualification can happen. So it's a battle of nerves, wits, and better seamanship which wins the race.

The specatacle of these yachts trying to out-duel each other, constantly circling each other and looking for better wind or waves, is reminiscent of two sharks warily circling each other in a tank in an aquarium. You never know what's going through their minds, if they even have minds. Sometimes, I think the sharks are positioning themselves to get the bigger, fatter fish in the tank for food. Sometimes, the sharks seem to be sizing themselves up as a meal too !!

Enter Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff, and Jack Layton. We all know that another election is coming up soon. But none of these so-called leaders wants to be the guy who gets blamed for triggering the election with a non-confidence vote. So, they circle each other very warily, assessing each situation carefully to measure the voters' mood, their chances of winning, and whether or not calling an election is the right thing to do. While it may seem cynical to most, I find it fascinating. The strategy, tactics and logistics are coming into play big time. Whoever said that Canadian politics is dull doesn't know what they're talking about.

Let's see who the better yachtsman is. Let's see who the biggest shark is !!

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