Wagering between elected officials from different states on the outcome of sporting events has a bread-and-circuses mentality to it, but given the media’s increasing addiction to the superficial, one might as well accept it as part of our political landscape.
However, a recent bet between South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford and Alaska Governor Sarah Palin seems to be even more contrived than usual.
The two Republican leaders have placed a friendly wager on the finals of the Kelly Cup. For the uninitiated, the Kelly Cup goes to the champion of the ECHL, which used to be called the East Coast Hockey League. This year, the South Carolina Stingrays and the Alaska Aces are in the Kelly Cup Finals.
The East Coast Hockey League is roughly equivalent to Double-A minor league baseball, except that it probably gets even less media attention than Double-A minor league baseball.
One can speculate as to why Sanford and Palin decided to place a wager on minor league hockey, for while Palin is a known hockey aficionado, Sanford doesn’t exactly have a reputation as a sports fan and it’s not certain how many minor league hockey games he’s actually been to.
However, one thing appears almost certain: Sanford did not come up with the quotes that appeared in a recent story on the bet.
In a piece on Columbia, SC, television station WIS’s website, Sanford was quoted as saying: “We’re awfully proud of how well the Stingrays have done this year, and we’re excited not only for the opportunity to show off a first-class sports franchise, but for the opportunity to show off the Charleston area as well. But personally, I’m most excited about the king salmon that Sarah is going to be sending my way when the Kelly Cup is decided!”
The last sentence is a dead giveaway that someone other than Sanford crafted the comment, for it’s hard to imagine the SC governor ever using an exclamation point.