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Poem: If Asked, Should Championship Teams Visit The White House?

President Barack Obama with the Golden State Warriors at the White House, Washington, DC, Feb. 4, 2016. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/ AP)
President Barack Obama with the Golden State Warriors at the White House, Washington, DC, Feb. 4, 2016. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/ AP)
This article is more than 2 years old.

Editor's note: Even before the Golden State Warriors won the NBA Championship, some members of the team announced that they wouldn’t go to the White House if they were invited. So far, the invitation hasn’t been issued. But various progressive organizations have circulated petitions urging the team to reject the invitation, should it come. It’s a circumstance that provoked Cognoscenti contributor and host of Only A Game Bill Littlefield to versify.

Would you go to the White House should an invitation come?

It is a question worthy of deliberation. Some

Would say, “I’d go. Of course I would. I’d like to see the spot

Where presidents abide, and there’s no question that I’ve got

A stake in that first residence, and all that is included.

My taxes pay the upkeep.” But you’d have to be deluded

To think you’d be invited merely ‘cause you pay the freight.

For invitations mostly go to those who have been great

At something, and one something in our culture of import

Is winning. If you’ve scaled the heights of some important sport

You may well be invited to the president’s abode.

No matter if the president’s an eagle or a toad.

And that is why the Warriors one day may be invited,

And some of them, I’m sure, will be entirely delighted

To stand beside the president and shake his Trumpish hand,

And they will tell their children of a day supremely grand,

For meeting with a president’s a special thing to do,

No matter if he’s Christian or a Muslim or a Jew…

No matter if the president is he or maybe she,

For president's without doubt a special thing to be.

And some among the Warriors will say “I’d rather not.

For though this current president’s the only one we’ve got,

We do not share the same concerns, I don’t feel welcome here…

He’s not the sort of president with whom I’d have a beer.

So I will pass on this trip and I’ll hope we keep on winning.

I’ll hope the battered world we live in somehow can keep spinning

Until another president invites me to the place,

At which point I, with gratitude, a smile upon my face,

Will gather with my teammates in the garden of the roses,

And we’ll stand with the president, as all assume the poses

That presidents and champs have settled into in past times

Less fraught with talk of misdemeanors, falsehoods, and high crimes.”

Each athlete, when a team’s included in the White House plan,

Can think about it. Any athlete, he or she, still can

Decide that it’s an honor and no matter who’s in charge,

The honor is significant, at least for them, and large

Enough to far outweigh the personalities at play.

And likewise each is also free to simply stay away.

I would despair if that should change. Each player has a voice,

And every invitation is a chance to make a choice.


Bill Littlefield Twitter Host, Only A Game
Bill Littlefield was the host of Only A Game from 1993 until 2018.


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