Sunday, April 15, 2007

State of the Union Corollary

There needs to be a sports equivalent to the measures taken by our government during the state of the union address. According to that bastion of all that is true and pure, Wikipedia:
Customarily, one cabinet member (the designated survivor) does not attend, in order to provide continuity in the line of succession in the event that a catastrophe disables the President, the Vice President, and other succeeding officers gathered in the House chamber. Additionally, since the September 11, 2001 attacks, a few members of Congress have been asked to relocate to undisclosed locations for the duration of the speech. Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) (the longest serving Senator in history) does not attend the State of the Union Address, opting instead to watch it at home on TV.
If that's good enough for the government, it should be good enough for sports teams. On an everyday basis this could be pretty hard, as it wouldn't make sense to charter a plane for the team and then have one guy take his own jet or a first class seat on the next flight out of town. But what if the team is doing something in the off-season? If players are traveling to an exhibition, or a community event, or even to some other special occasion, what wouldn't make sense about making sure that the three or four most important guys weren't all together, just in case? For a good example think about how devastated the city of Portland and the NBA would have been if Maurice Lucas, Bill Walton, and Herm Gilliam had all been in a car crash on their way to dinner before the 1977 season. Sure, Gilliam wasn't the most important guy on that team, but the other two were the most important guys. What about Shaun Alexander, Matt Hasselbeck, and Walter Jones? Or John Smoltz, Chipper Jones, and Jeff Francouer? If any of these groups of players all went down at the same time--even if it was just for a while--because of injuries sustained while traveling together, the respective teams, cities, and leagues would be affected in a powerful and negative way.

There's always a chance that everyone could rally together around the city and team if they faced this sort of tragedy (see: Marshall, Wichita State, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo), but it would still be something horrific to overcome. By taking the extra precaution to make sure one of the stars of a team is the designated survivor, teams could make sure there is a better chance of responding well to tragedy.

1 comment:

josh said...

I'm not really serious in this, but it is something that I was thinking about. I'm devolving a little in this post into one of those guys who just tries to stir up controversy. Or maybe I'm becoming one of those guys who just wants to sound clever and be the first to come up with a new idea. Either way, hopefully this doesn't get taken too seriously.