Last Updated 27 May 2020

A Team in a Slump

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For someone who is not much of a sports fan as he claims himself to be, Richard Cohen is the most unlikely person to write about the parallelisms of a Knicks’ season and the Iraq War.

For Cohen, a game and a war must  both be won.  He disagrees with Vince Lombardi with the latter’s famous quote that winning is not the only thing.  He is more in agreement with Henry Ford about learning more from failures than in successes.

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Cohen cited the New York Knicks as having the highest paid players in the league, including those who sit it out in crucial games.  The bench warmers have $53 million contracts.  He thinks the figure to be pretty expensive for a ball club finishing at the bottom notch of the Eastern Conference.

Cohen likewise called to mind Gil Hodges of the Dodgers who performed below expectations in 1952 and was for an uncomfortable length of time on such a sudden decline, or on a slump.  Hodges was well-loved, extremely good and quite strong.  But as most people would say then, things happen.  Things were not always within one’s control.

The Cohen essay is also about George W. Bush once the owner of the Texas Rangers.  Owning a ball club before, Cohen believes that Bush should have known that as in the case of the Knicks, money nor power, does not a winner make.    In Iraq, even with all its resources America is ineffective.  It is like the Knicks on a slump.

Cohen wrote, “It’s not the bench that needs to be replaced.  It’s the front office.”  The reason for the defeat is not because the players or the soldiers are not that good, it is more of the person owning the ball club or the commander in chief from whom the orders are coming being incapable of leading his team to victory.  What it takes to win, the man in charge should know.

This may be a different way to look at the much-debated Iraq War, at a sports angle with  a sports analysis on the side.    Richard Cohen, from his own admission is an occasional sports fan.

For the most part of his essay, one would not easily find a connection between a team in a slump and a protracted war, between a former ball club owner and a president who calls the shots in Iraq.  For the average American who has a home team to root for he would understandably like to separate his sports from his politics.  As for Cohen, he should shoot from another angle.

Works Cited

Cohen, Richard. “A Team in a Slump.” 20 April 2006.  Washington Post Writers Group. 15 May 2007 <>

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