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The whistles from both sides of the Olympic pool blew hard. The white clad referees each pointed to the defender in front of my son and held up the four fingers representing his number, and then pointed to the side. The player was done. Kicked out. The blood oozing from my sons nose was finally enough proof the other kid used his elbow too many times.
Not wanting to mollycoddle, but suitably concerned, I remained standing in my position, clapping and cheering him on as the teams went back to their respective corners. The coach checked on my son. This wasn’t just any game; they were deep into a qualifying tournament, just a feat to be there at all, which if they medaled would provide an invite to the Junior Olympics.
For the past few minutes the phone was furiously buzzing in my back pocket. It was Saturday afternoon. No business today, I thought, and left alone whatever was going on in the outside world.
The kids were outgunned. Medaling in last month’s tournament graduated them to playing in the same league as these monster linebackers, or so they appeared. But it was how the other team played that frustrated me. They almost fouled on every possession, but not quite. It seemed they had mastered the art of crossing the line, without getting caught. Much like the mainstream media’s treatment of Democrat scandals, the refs seemed to not care, until, in the case of my son, they couldn’t ignore it.
I looked at the score: 8-7, them. Somehow, we were still in this game.
The phone continued to emit its coded buzzes, signaling calls, texts, and notifications, likely from Twitter and news services. My fingers were itching. I should look, just in case my younger son, who was home at a basketball game, made some shots.
Swiping at my phone caused my heart to stop. It wasn’t quite a September 11 moment, but it really, really hurt. First the texts came through from my some of my oldest friends; one in particular from high school and college, simply said:
“Scalia. I’m shaking.”
I immediately opened Twitter, my go-to news source, and was floored. All the journalists I follow reported the same thing. As I scrolled further I realized that because of my tardiness, the trolls had already taken over the asylum. The lowest form of humanity were dancing on the warm body of the greatest conservative judge of our time, if not ever.
The whistle blew, recapturing my attention back to the reason I had driven hours to eat powdered eggs each morning. Players swam back to the center of the pool, with my son moving forward to the penalty line, facing the goal with two defenders on his wings, about to take his free shot.
Awaiting the whistle, he held the ball up above water, careful not to pump forward first, which would disqualify the shot.
The whistle blew, hard shot to the hole on the left hitting the back of the net. Score! I almost dropped my phone. Coach then changed the line and had him come out to tend to his soon-to-be swollen schnoz. Tied game!
The elation lasted but a mere few seconds. I was still shell-shocked. The ramifications of this, during an election year, with more than enough time for Obama to nominate his replacement, would change everything.
Would the Republicans … could the Republicans stop what will be undoubtedly the most significant shift in SCOTUS in generations? The media, or in my current mindset, “the biased refs” who make calls that sway opinion, would undoubtedly favor the Democrats foisting another Kagan or Sotomayor on America for another 30 years.
The left would demand Obama appoint a third judge. The media would question anyone who suggested otherwise. SCOTUS was about to become the most pivotal issue of election 2016, in a year the Democrats should lose.
Back to my phone, I opened the interwebs and went straight here, to Ricochet. EJ had already posted the awful news. The only thing I could add at the time was how I still feel now. “This changes everything.”
Up until this point, the left had doubled down on extreme leftist ideals. Great for the youth and gray-haired hippies, but not for a general election. The country was courting a socialist, and his opponent was navigating a potential indictment. Although one could never discount the ability of the left to sway an election, I was happy they were making a stand with the hammer-and-sickle crowd. My biggest concern is/was the right. Would we have a candidate with a realistic chance of winning the general, or would anger and ignorance nominate a ticking time bomb?
But now, the left has a reason to regain the center mojo they need to win. It’s gonna all be about SCOTUS. In short, the social issues the left loves to campaign on are going to once again be used to scare women and minorities to the voting booths.
The media will carry their water and every interview and debate with whoever the nominees are will focus primarily on issues where the right always play defense, and usually not very well.
We ended up losing the game. The other team managed to slap, elbow, and bruise their way to a win. Parents on our side spent more time complaining about the refs not making calls, than cheering on our team. There was a lot of anger.
On the way home I asked my melancholy son how he was doing. He peered out the window and simply said: “We played their game … not ours. And that’s why we lost.”