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Why do Americans prefer sports to politics?

President Donald Trump speaks in the Hall of Columns as he arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 19, 2018, to rally Republicans around a GOP immigration bill. However Republicans on Capitol Hill, mindful of the country's spreading outrage over separating families at the border, have been frantically searching for ways to end the Trump administration's policy. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

During a visit to Washington DC in June, I saw an estimated 200,000 revelers in the street to celebrate what some called “the greatest day of my life.” The cause for jubilation wasn’t some political victory; it was the clinching game that enabled the Washington Capitals to win hockey’s Stanley Cup.

Why do more people get excited about sports than they do about politics? In part, because athletic competitions maintain clear rules of play enforced by professional umpires, while politics has increasingly adopted the idea of “anything goes.”

No one questions the essential decency of an opposing sports team, but politicians go obsessively on the attack to accuse opponents of bad intentions and total corruption.

No wonder we tend to look on politicians as crooks and clowns, while enthusiastically embracing our athletes as “heroes.”

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