Is Obamaball more than a game?
By Adam Ross
By now we've heard from just about every writer in Washington on whether Obama unfairly excluded women in his pick-up basketball game. Some have argued that it is unfair for only men to have the extra face time with the president. Others have called for understanding, noting that Obama's recreational time shouldn't have to be politically correct.
But here's the thing with basketball: When you're playing because you enjoy the game, it consumes your attention. I've hopped basketball courts around D.C., Maryland and Virginia for the last five years. I've played with journalists, politicians, lobbyists, federal employees, diplomats, lawyers, professors and countless others. Despite all that face time with some powerful people, it's amounted to very little, if any, memorable conversations about anything but basketball. No insider information, no big tips. I did, however, get plenty of bruises, sprained ankles and busted lips.
It's possible that Obamaball is different. But I doubt it. Obama is serious about basketball. He played in high school, he fills out his NCAA tournament bracket each March, and he supports his hometown sports teams with fervor. Considering his passion for the game and how competitive it makes even normally calm people, I'd be less concerned about catching Obama's ear than worried about catching him with a hard foul. If anything, Obamaball is more likely to kill careers than to make them.
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