Sports metaphors are as much a part of political discourse as military verbiage is a part of the sports lexicon. Presidential campaigns are described as "marathons" at first and "sprints" in the late stages. Meanwhile, boxing expressions are used throughout the "no-holds barred" middle. In sports, martial references and terminology abound. For example, NFL quarterbacks guide passing attacks and particularly long throws are referred to as "bombs." And if a political candidate had a dollar for every athlete who ever referred to himself as a "warrior" then he or she would never need to push for campaign finance reforms in order to "level the playing field."
Not only does the language from each of these realms infuse the others, but it is totally accepted that lessons gleaned in one arena -- or Izod Center -- can be applied to another.
But what about fantasy sports?
In his new book, How Fantasy Sports Explains The World, ESPN's AJ Mass contends that fantasy sports can be just as useful as their reality counterparts for talking about and understanding the wider world. The veteran fantasy sports analyst teases out connections between strategies in fantasy sports and seemingly unrelated aspects of his life. Reflecting back on his days as a casino dealer in Atlantic City, he connects hitting on a 16 against a dealer's face card while playing blackjack and drafting Peyton Manning in a fantasy football league. In another chapter, he unpacks the correlation between the number of disciples of Jesus and the optimal number of players in your keeper league. As Mass' colleague Matthew Berry writes in the introduction, the book aims to show you "how the same concepts you currently employ in fantasy can inform the other parts of your life."
In speaking with The Huffington Post, Mass contended that fantasy sports can even help us better understand the current crop of candidates vying for the Republican Party's 2012 Presidential nomination.
Here are Mass' descriptions of the similarities between the frontrunners for the 2012 Republican nomination and several prominent NFL quarterbacks.