Playground Notes: Physics can explain two surprising turnarounds

Danny Schoenbaechler

Years ago I was taught that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

I was taught that it was a law, kind of like how Willie E. Coyote will never catch that elusive Roadrunner. When trying to explain the turnaround by Western’s basketball team, this rule was the only thing I could come up with.

So who is cosmically linked to Western and thus suffering the opposite fate of these Hilltoppers?

Who in this country is currently gaining fame as a helpless loser? Howard Dean.

One has been rising, while the other has been in a three-week plummet.

A month ago people in southern Kentucky were wondering if Western coach Darrin Horn was the right man for the job, while people across America thought that Dean could be our next president.

Now both of those ideas seem preposterous. It’s strange, but it’s starting to make sense.

Poor little Howie’s campaign has been diminished into the presidential race’s laugh factory. About the same time Dean’s campaign was faltering, Western was gaining steam.

On Jan. 19 Dean shockingly finished fourth in the Iowa caucuses. After leading the polls heading into the week Dean was visibly stunned by his defeat.

This mysteriously came just days after Western spent the weekend beating Arkansas-Little Rock and Arkansas State.

These laws of physics appear to be very powerful.

What was Dean’s way of plugging his leaking campaign? He unleashed a small children-scaring ear drum-popping screaming episode. Apparently he stirred up the wrong group, Western has gone 4-2, while Dean is still putting up a goose egg in the win column.

Some people wanted Horn fired a month ago, but it was Dean who did the firing – tossing his campaign manager to the curb.

Joe Trippi had a solid resume of former presidential campaign losses, but the Vermont governor dumped him before he could be added to the list.

Too late, his campaign has no chance.

Dean has not yet dropped out of the race, but his campaign is essentially on a life support machine being powered by a low voltage battery.

Meanwhile, his now arch-rival Hilltoppers are starting to breathe easy. Not only is a Sun Belt East Division title in reach, so is a fourth-straight NCAA Tournament appearance.

While the country is waiting for Dean to tap out, Western is ready to be called the Sun Belt Conference favorite. The favorite tag has now changed hands, once again supporting my Dean-Western basketball connection theory.

This feat would be pretty extraordinary. Pulling these Toppers from the 0-5 start and into tournament during his first year as a head coach would be commendable.

After those first five games, winning the conference seemed impossible. So how did Horn do it?

I’m not sure, but what he didn’t do is follow Howie D’s embarrass yourself by screaming blueprint.

Maybe the wrong guy is the politician.

Either way, Horn has turned this season into something to boast about, while Dean has made his campaign something to cringe about.

They really are two men heading in two totally different directions. How else can you explain these oddly related circumstances, but with physics.

Danny Schoenbaechler is the Herald sports columnist and sports editor. Reach Danny at [email protected]