Football Thoughts 9/22

connerI had written a couple of football-themed posts last week, but faced with finishing them up and posting them here, I just wasn’t feeling it.

Perhaps it was because my beloved Steelers looked terrible over the first two weeks of the season, especially getting hammered by the hated Ravens in week 2–but I don’t so.

It’s been a real up and down season for my favorite teams.  The local high school has been masterful and dominant at home, with the players I knew personally having very good performances, but both of their away games have been resounding defeats. It’s good that they’re winning at home in front of family and friends, but those losses have to be just as difficult as the wins are gratifying.

My university alma mater, IUP, has been similarly up and down, losing an ugly one last week after an initial blowout win, then winning yesterday–albeit barely–over a feeble Lock Haven team.  It’s difficult to get excited about that, but until this weekend Pitt was chugging along behind an old school running back, James Conner, and a quarterback, Chad Voytik, with a heart of Everest proportions.  It is difficult not to cheer for a high character kid like Voytik, and his very young and inexperienced Pitt was 3-0 and looking like they’ll be competitive as the season moves. Still, they blew it Saturday against Iowa.  They just let it slip through their fingers  Pitt has been mediocre since–since forever, it seems–and just good enough to raise our hopes before dashing them with a late season collapse. I hope that’s not what we’re in for this season.

I realized Sunday that it is all the controversy over domestic violence and child-beating that has let the air out of my NFL fandom.  Jonathan Dwyer, the latest player to be accused, played for the Steelers until last year.  He allegedly gave a head-butt to his girlfriend when she turned him down for sex, then threw a shoe at their 18-month old for good measure. Not the best seduction tactic, eh? As numbskulls go, he’s worse than the spreadsheet guy. The idiot.

But seriously: you make a million bucks to play a child’s game, and you head butt a woman?  As I said: idiot.

He had a lot of promise, and a few good games, but never managed to stand out.  Still, I cheered for the guy.  I hate that most of all because I feel like I got played for a sucker. I hoped he’d get things going and succeed. Now, I hope to hear that he’s flipping burgers after a nice vacation in a very small room.

I was talking to a fellow today who was trying to make the point that lots of guys hit women and kids, not just football players, but the media goes after athletes because they’re famous–and because most of them are black.  While I wouldn’t rule out a racial factor in terms of enforcement, the argument that “lots of people do it” doesn’t carry a lot of water, and I told him so.

He said, “it’s that German word: Shay-don-froid.”

Schadenfreude?

“Yeh, that one.”

And I suppose it’s true.  Charles Barkley famously said that he was not a role model, and not coincidentally he has been one of Adrian Peterson’s more vocal supporters, taking the “its a southern black thing” route.  It makes me wonder how those folks feel, having Charles Barkley calling out the entire group as child abusers–but more importantly, Barkley is wrong about being a role model.  It’s not something he gets to choose, or dismiss.  Part of cashing that check and living in those rarefied heights–all for playing a child’s game–is the public stage.  For all an athlete would like to say that he gets paid to perform, not to be a celebrity, there’s a compact he’s making, an agreement to be our hero, to thrill us and disappoint us.  It should be no surprise, when they fail us so completely, not as athletes but as human beings, that we are compelled to cast upon them our amplified, collective scorn and disappointment.

Adrian Peterson has earned several hundred million dollars between his salary and his corporate sponsorships, all because people enjoy watching him run up and down a green carpet 16 weekends a year.  It’s a pretty good gig.

The Steelers played the late game, at 8:30 pm.  I wouldn’t have watched if it had been regular mid-afternoon game.  I had better things to do, like mulch the flower beds, and as it was I didn’t bother to raise my “Steel Nation” flag on the porch, but I did watch the game, though without my usual rapt attention.  There’s something about my fandom that died when Rice cold-cocked his fiancee, and I’m not sure that it’s going to grow back.  The Steelers won convincingly last night, with both LeVeon Bell and LaGarrette Blount running for over 100 yards–a rare feat, and just the sort of football I love: hard-nosed rushing.  At the end, I was pleased by not exhilarted, as I’ve been after some games.  I couldn’t help thinking of perspective: in the pre-season, the young, bone-headed Steelers running backs got busted for posession after firing up a joint in traffic, in broad daylight, in a fancy black camaro convertible–because nobody in Pittsburgh, a city that is not only still working out it’s racial issues, but as invested in it’s football team as any city in the nation, is going to notice a pair of  handsome, young, muscular African American dudes in an enviable car firing up a big joint at a red light.  Duh.  A lot of folks probably recognized these guys on sight.  There were calls for their suspensions after their arrest,  not so much for the drugs but for missing the team flight.  Now, compared to the alleged crimes of their NFL brethern, those charges are mentioned only as an afterthought, which actually is a good thing (but that’s another post).

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Autumn Found Photos: This Is Going to Be Difficult

imagesfAn initial foray into the world of autumn posts revealed a whole lot of gifs, clip art, graphics, cute photos of other people’s children raking leaves or going on hay rides, and creepy-ish images that remind me of stuff cut-and-pasted from an LL Bean catalog.  Or Sears Roebuck, even.  There’s also a lot of clearly professional, for profit stuff I don’t feel comfortable pilfering.p6  I have to admit that I’m a little worried–I feel committed to this whole seasonal photos thing.  If I can’t manage autumn, it sort of makes all the work finding cool summer photos a vain pursuit, don’t you think?  And I’m compelled to make it through because I already have dozens of absolutely outstanding images set aside for next summer.  It’s interesting to think about, though.  Summer Couple Raking Leavesphotos encompass a wide variety of activities and one general component I find almost inexhaustible: the beach.  Autumn photos seem centered around a relatively small number of holidays and things: Halloween and Thanksgiving, and leaves and pumpkins.  Fall foliage is resplendent and all that, but it’s best to limit the dosages.

It seems I’ll be required to be creative.  Fortunately, Fall is the shortest season in these parts.  At least for the purposes of my reckoning.  The dates work out sort of like this:

Summer: Labor Day to Fall Equinox (about 120 days)
Autumn/Fall: Equinox To Black Friday (about 67 days)
Winter: Black Friday to April 1 (about 118 days)
Spring: April 1-Labor Day Weekend (about 60 days)

Now there are years where all of November feels like winter, and Fall feels like it landed with the County Fair and the advent of football season at the end of August, and years when Spring hits in March–or hides until May–but these dates reflect my seasonal moods and interpretation of environmental factors.  Like the borders of small European nations prior to World War 2, the boundaries between the seasons are highly flexible–it was 72 at midnight on Dec 22 last year, during our Christmas Party, although we’d already had several meaningful snowfalls.  Not surprisingly, we had a frost in June and a number of strangely cold days this past summer.  With the changing global climate, all preconceptions are off the table.

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Something else I learned is that there are literally thousands of Fall Festivals in the USA and Canada, all of them running pretty much simultaneously during the first two weeks of October.  Cider and antique automobiles are prominently featured in most, along with hay bales and piles of pumpkins.  I did, however, in keeping with the O.R.A. standards, find one Autumn Festival that wasn’t mired in gauzy images and mundane pumpkin costumes.  What they do have, apparently, is pole dancing.  Go figure.

Enjoy.

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Autumn Photo: Step Into Fall

We’ll see if we can keep this seasonal-themed photo thing going.  This one isn’t the most vibrant, but it has a sort of subtle genius to it, don’t you think?  I’m not just saying that because I took it.  It’s just…obvious.
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Final Found Summer Photo: Swimses With Pigs

The alluring new sequel to Dances With Wolves, but with no annoying Kevin Costner anywhere within sight. Found Summer Photos returns on Memorial Day weekend, May 23, 2015.  In the meantime, tighten up that rake–we’ve got leaves to clean up.
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Second To Last Found Summer Photo 2014: What?

I still haven’t figured this one out. Must be a fashion thing.

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Columbia? If it was Brazil, I’d Understand.

A friend of mine posted on facebook recently about a particularly bad day that ended with “and I couldn’t even go home because my cleaning lady was there.” She then made a joke about having “first world problems,” at which I had to laugh even though I didn’t really understand–is there some ettiquette thing about being in the house with the help? Being that, socially, I’m more closer to being “the help” than than the Lord of The Manor or whatever, I still think I’d want to be around to, you know, keep an eye on the silver candlesticks and the liquor cabinet (okay, we have a shelf in the pantry, but still….)

That really has little to do with my post (big surprise, eh?) except for the concept of “first world problems.” And speaking of first world problems, thousands of people who must be living really, really dull lives are all worked up about a Columbian women’s bicycle team and their new uniforms. I myself have no comment beyond a snort and a shake of my head.
Columbia

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Rachel Nichols Scores

Rachel-Nichols2Following her attempts to pry an answer from that elusive weasel, Roger Goodell, to the question of why the Atlantic City police have no record of the NFL ever requesting the full film footage of Ray Rice sucker-punching his then-fiancee into unconsciousness, and his continued evasiveness (he pulls the old politician trick of answering a different question than he was asked, then repeating the answer until the flow of conversation moves on), reporter Rachel Nichols found her Wikipedia page had been changed to reflect a new career.  Kudos to her–and to the TMZ guy who said “We got the tape with one phone call,” what the hell was your problem?
Owned

 

 

 

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