In the 2017 Super Bowl, the Atlanta Falcons were dominating the mighty New England Patriots, up 28-3 late in the third quarter.
Then the great Tom Brady masterfully engineered a comeback to beat all comebacks, leading the Patriots to another Super Bowl championship, 34-28 in overtime.
That had been my choice as the most improbable come-from-behind victory — until last week when TJ Cox finished off a comeback to win the 21st Congressional District election over incumbent David Valadao. (The 21st includes Selma.)
No matter which candidate you favored, consider this: When someone is down by almost 5,000 votes the morning after the election and then a month later is declared the winner by 862 votes, that is a comeback for the ages.
Our partisan political system is highly contentious today. A whole lot of folks dislike the president and a whole lot of folks dislike the folks who dislike the president. Cox v. Valadao was played out in that national arena, and the closeness of the vote shows exactly how divided we are.
And we learned a couple of important lessons in that 21st Congressional race:
1) It can now take a month to finish counting ballots.
In the old days most people voted at the polls. Today, many more voters mail in their ballots. That can make the election-night watch less relevant. As the mail-in and “provisional” ballots trickled it, Valadao’s lead evaporated and Cox pulled ahead a few weeks after the election.
2) Never say your vote doesn’t count.
When an important congressional election draws more than 113,000 votes and is decided by fewer than 900, you begin to see the importance of every person’s ballot — and of campaigners who go door-to-door urging folks to vote.
Whichever your political persuasion, whether you liked or hated the result, this race and several other close races surely will change the way we will follow future elections.
I used to consider sports and politics to be similar: People compete, there are winners and losers, and we follow the “scores” on TV on game (election) night.
But there is now one big difference. In elections, the game is played, but it could take a month to settle the score.
Selma a Pickleball haven
Several folks have commented to me to me about the large crowd of Pickleball players at Selma’s courts last Saturday.
Two dozen players from Visalia to Fresno congregated on our four courts. Many from that group play here every Saturday for two reasons: We are centrally located between Fresno and Visalia, and we are one of the few cities in the Valley that has four courts (six if you count the Pickleball lines painted on the tennis courts).
As a member of Selma’s Parks and Recreation committee, I’m happy that our courts are being used. And I’m confident this group of top-level players will respect our facilities.