Little League season is upon us, and an article by Scott Ganz of the American Enterprise Institute caught my eye recently. Its argument about the positive impact of youth sports participation was interesting, but the description of the co-author was what got me thinking. The author, as it happens, also coaches the Institute's softball team.
Wait, AEI's softball team? Does Richard Perle call his homers like Babe Ruth? Does neocon godfather Irving Kristol give a rousing pre-game speech? (I need hitters, not quitters!!!) I'm not sure, but a bit of lunchtime searching revealed that think tanks from left to right aren't just engaged in the battle of ideas. They've also got their own softball league.
Just imagine the trash talk when the liberal Center for American Progress takes on the righties at the Heritage Foundation. I'm sure it's all erudite and perhaps even peer-reviewed, though. Things really got interesting when I found their flickr photostream. . .
Now, let's not jump to conclusions based on these photos. As the grad-school enhanced minds in these pictures would soberly point out, they don't constitute a representative sample. But, strictly anecdotally, they do open a window into the behavior of think tankers in the presence of many, many rounds of cheap lager.
The other thing you'll notice is that these particular scholar-athletes look an awful lot younger and fitter than the think tankers of cable news debates. Ringers? Nah, probably not. But it does seem like a big part of a pundit's progress is slugging it out for the team while you're a young think tank research assistant or intern.