Monday, September 22, 2008

Palin, Paulson and the Pass, Hail Mary.

The Hail Mary Pass idiom has crossed my path a couple times this week. For those fortunate enough to have been reared in the beloved, imperfect Roman Catholic Church it invokes layers of meaning.

Years ago, the offer to say a few Hail Mary's for a friend in need was a serious and frequent occasion. It was the Catholic way of saying, I'm with you, and I am praying for you. Supplicating the Mother of God seemed a perfectly reasonable thing to do when things were desperate.

Speaking of which, last week after the selection of Sarah Palin as running mate for John McCain I called a political consultant friend of mind and said, "Well, what do you think and why?"

He said, "it was a Hail Mary Pass." Thinking that McCain couldn't win by playing it safe.

Then Saturday, in the New York Times, in a reference to Treasury Secretary Paulson's suggested bank bailout, another reference in a headline form: Hoping a Hail Mary Pass Connects.

Both refer to the phrase coined only 33 years ago by a Dallas Cowboy quarterback, Roger Staubach, whose team, behind with 26 seconds to go in the NFC championship game, reared back and according to him, closed his eyes, threw the ball as hard as he could, and said . . . a Hail Mary. Drew Pearson caught the ball, scored a touchdown and the rest, Cowboys fans, is history.

I have only this to say . . . Roger, are you still praying?

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