I like to mock the Green Bay Packers Family Night. It's fine that the team wants to hold a training camp practice inside Lambeau Field--but the way the fans and media treat it--like it's the most important event of the pre-season--is what is laughable.
Fans actually pay for the "honor" of attending the practice. Talking heads spend the days leading up to it asking each other "What do you expect to see at Family Night?" and "Who really needs to have an impressive performance at Family Night?". The fans will line up outside the parking lot more than three hours beforehand to tailgate--and then cheer loudly for every pass reception or touchdown during 7-on-7 drills (seemingly forgetting that it's the Packers defense that is giving up those big plays). And let's not forget that many of the guys out there won't even be around when the action counts in a few weeks.
Then Family Night will be followed by a week's worth of "analysis"--with talking heads asking each other "Who really impressed you at Family Night?" and "What concerns do you have coming out of Family Night?"--all while "Gary from Ashwaubenon" "breaks down" the "issues I saw in the secondary on Family Night".
Well, the Republican Presidential Campaign version of Family Night will held in Cleveland, Ohio tonight--as the ten "frontrunners" (Mr Language Person would like to note there can only be ONE "frontrunner"--everyone else would be a "follower") take part in the first debate of the 2016 primary campaign. Just like Packers fans, political junkies are treating this like it's an actual big deal. We've had endless hours of analysis covering who would make the stage, to how the format would work with so many people to how each candidate should deal with all of the other candidates. You can bet that all of the shows on this very radio station will spend the coming days and weeks "breaking down" the debate and deciding who "won" and who "lost". Supporters of each person will cheer zingers directed at one of the others on stage--forgetting that the "zingee" could be the nominee that they will be supporting anyway further down the line.
And just like at Family Night, many of those who will be taking part this evening will be gone by the time the "real campaign" starts. At least Packers Family Night comes just a week before the start of the exhibition season--and five weeks before the games actually count. Tonight's debate is almost five months before people start standing in corners in middle school gyms in the Iowa caucuses. And Ohio voters who will be the ones in the audience tonight have to wait until March 15th--another SEVEN MONTHS--before they can cast a vote for their nominee.
So don't expect me to be tuning in for tonight's "crucial early debate". I'll start paying attention when the action actually starts counting for something.