June 5th, 2012
06:31 PM ET

Letters to the President #1233: 'The playoffs'

Reporter's Note: I don’t know if President Obama plays chess. I’m pretty sure even if he does that I could beat him, but you never know…

Dear Mr. President,

I don’t know if you are watching the transit of Venus across the sun today, or if you are keeping track of the Stanley Cup Finals between New Jersey and Los Angeles. If not, you should know this about each: It’ll soon be over.

The whole Venus thing is one of those interesting scientific moments which is fun to see but that’s about it. Unlike what our ancient ancestors may have thought, it doesn’t portend anything stupendous. It’s just a very small, very dark dot passing in front of a very big, very bright one. Takes about seven hours. The end. Still, I find it kind of fascinating and, like I said, fun to watch.

The Cup Finals, however? Not so much. I like a good contest, and this is more of a slaughter. The Kings are slapping the Devils around like the guys from Jersey are in the minor leagues.

I think the Devils are a fine team and I’ve always liked their goalie, Martin Brodeur. (Well, “always” is a stretch. Back when he and his team were a chief stumbling block to the Avalanche, I was not so fond of him.) The Kings just seem to have figured them out. They make the Devils blow passes, misfire on shots, and grow weak just when they need to be strong.

That is the key problem, now that I think of it. Getting weak. In the toughest contests with the best competitors, many times the trophy goes to whoever has the most tenacity; the greatest willingness to keep pressing the fight against the odds and against every setback. And right now it seems like the Kings are constantly a step ahead of the Devils chasing down loose pucks, crossing the blue line, and fighting their way out of tough spots.

That’s probably worth bearing in mind as the summer drags on and your contest with Governor Romney turns to a war of attrition. There is little doubt among most of the pollsters that this is going to be a close race, and in that environment the winner may well be determined not by intelligence, experience, or skills, but rather by pure grit.

Just ask the Kings. Although, you may want to wait on that. I have the feeling after one more game…or two at most…they’ll be celebrating too much to hear the phone.


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