This weekend I had the rare opportunity to add to the list of things I thought I’d never, ever…ever see in my lifetime. It was during that little football game that you guys make such a big stink out of every year…what’s it called – The Super Bowl – and although I didn’t actually watch the entire show, I did see enough to encourage the immediate purchase of a new umbrella for when the giant frogs begin to fall from the heavens in the next day or two (…although I still haven’t figured out what to do about the locusts yet…). I guess if I had to make just one comment about that particular game, it would have to be, “Hey, wait a minute – aren’t the Buccaneers supposed to suck?!”
Now before you sports nuts get all excited, don’t go thinking that this is going to end up being a column full of facts and figures about the wonderful world of outdoor activities because I’ve worked too hard at keeping such intellectual details out of my writing this far to just blow it all on some silly game! That aside, however, even I have to admit that it was simply a phenomenal performance…if you happened to be watching from Tampa Bay’s point of view! I’ve heard Oakland’s display, however, referred to as nightmarish, comparable to Pee-Wee football, and of course, the kind of performance we’ve come to expect…out of the Buccaneers, that is! Some may view this turn of the tables as a long-overdue win for the underdogs, others as simply a hole in the wall of their not-so-easily repairable egos, but I see it as yet another aching reminder that the sporting scene just ain’t what it used to be…
You got it – this is going to be one of those reminiscent columns, so hold onto your hats and other similarly-fashioned headwear. Now granted, I’m sure you’re all well aware by now that I’m not exactly a huge sports fan – I don’t feel the need to justify sitting around drinking beer all weekend by watching a bunch of overpaid oafs hobble around on my TV all afternoon, but enough about the Lifetime Channel for Women, we were talking about sports, right? I lost what little interest I did have in the spectatorship of such physical activities years ago when I noticed that there simply weren’t any cool people out there on the field anymore. It was as if I had flipped over to Nickelodeon for a minute and when I came back, all of my heroes were gone and there was no longer any point of watching!
I don’t know about you, but what made them really stick in my head as legends were the cards – do they even have sports cards around anymore? It wasn’t so much that I collected them because I had watched them on TV, I watched them on TV because I had collected their cards…and I figured that it might be a neat idea to find out what this whole sporting-thing was that made them so famous in the first place! Now I couldn’t even begin to contemplate just how much of my parents’ money was invested into this particular craze (…with hopes of my taking an actual interest in sports and spending some time outside once in a while…), but from the boxes upon boxes that I’ve had to save from countless garage sales and random spring cleanings, I might be so bold to say that maybe we could’ve afforded the wall-to-wall carpeting in the neighborhood tree-fort if my friends and I had been able to cut down our addictions by a few packs a week…
Nonetheless, I had all the greats – Joe Montana of the San Francisco 49ers, Barry Sanders of the Detroit Lions, Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins, and of course, the king of the kings himself – Mr. Bo Jackson of the Los Angeles Raiders! For those of you who just happened to be living under various rocks during the late 80’s, Bo Knew Sports (…and Pottery and Fishing Lures and Cheesecake – you name it!), having been the first athlete to play in the All-Star game of two separate sports (both baseball and football), and the man even starred in his very own Saturday morning cartoon show – The Pro Stars – what’s cooler than that?! Sadly, Bo was forced into retirement in 1991 after a hip-injury during the Raiders’ playoff game with the Cincinnati Bengals, but his spirit lives on in the MVP sections of our card collections and through the posters on our walls.
Over the next several years, we would see the rest of the great ones quietly making their final exits from the field, only assuming that a new, worthwhile generation would be ready and waiting to step up to the plate and continue the tradition, but if they did make an advance, I certainly wasn’t paying enough attention to see it by then! The last hopes for a healthy and active lifestyle diminished quickly as I soon discovered video games, comic books, and all of the geekier elements of your average teenage life, and my previously sportsmen-dominated list of personal heroes was replaced by one consisting of the likes of Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, and The Super Mario Brothers. That’s right – the large and all-knowing black man that had held the inspiration to all of my dreams in the past was dethroned by a pair of fictional, Italian plumbers…fictional, I tell you!!!
Although it would seem to me that the obvious solution would be to get some exceptionally cool dudes out on the playing fields again, I know deep in my heart that it just isn’t that easy, or feasible. No matter how cool it might be to see Neo from The Matrix running touchdowns for the New York Giants or even Ozzy Osbourne cheering on the sidelines at the next Super Bowl, we all know that you can’t restore such fame by simply throwing celebrities at it left and right – anyone remember Woodstock ’99? Legends aren’t born in a day, but they can certainly disappear overnight – I don’t know exactly what this means now, but when a new travesty comes along that’s big and bold enough to knock Anna Nicole out of the spotlight, don’t say that you weren’t warned…
What’s the moral of this story?
(Whose work do you think you’re reading, anyways?! Morals…ha! How about that if you shuffle the teams around enough to the point where nobody knows which teams are any good any more, then even the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can win the Super Bowl!)
(Sorry if that one’s not good enough, but that’s all I’ve got…)
(nice save, eh?)