July 6th, 2012 § 1 Comment
The Beast moniker is overused in sports. Anyone who does anything big is a beast. “He’s a beast off the tee.” You know you just called a guy wearing an argyle, vest sweater, and white trousers – a guy standing on a manicured tee box of a private country club a beast, right? No. The name ought to be reserved for those select few who literally send shivers down our collective spine – the ones who freeze us in jaw-gaping, glass-dropping terror.
Robert James Gronkowski is a beast. The Gronk, all 6’6″ 265 of him. The dude is huge. Now combine that size with … okay, I’m gonna say what we’ve all been thinking … Gronk isn’t the brightest bulb on the chandelier. C’mon, you’ve thought it. You’ve watched the post game interviews, the YouTube clip of the wild, post Superbowl flail dance. He’s missing that something connected to inhibitions, to calculating risk. It’s what helps him be singularly minded on a football field. “Gronk catch, Gronk run, Gronk spike ball real hard.” This past season, watching him barreling down the field like a starving giant palming a loaf of stolen bread, I involuntarily muttered Beast. And I suspect a few undersized defensive backs did the same as they braced themselves for a beating. The combination of size and his single-minded, recklessness makes Rob Gronkowski a certifiable beast.
Will the beast go in the first round in your draft? If we knew the beast goes off again this year, then we’d have to draft him early. But before we get too excited, remember, Gronk had the best season by a Tight End ever. Ever! How often does ever get repeated? Welker and Hernandez are still there. And the Pats just added Brandon Lloyd and Jabar Gaffney, who I think both fit the system better than Ocho. And then all those Defenses that were abused, they’ve been up all night studying. You know what happens to monsters – to beasts. They run amuck for a while – terrorize the countryside. But eventually they send in the mob with the pitch forks; eventually they fly in the airplanes. And we all know how that story ends.
Beast or no beast, I’m not taking a Tight End in the first round.
July 5th, 2012 § Leave a Comment
My kid’s first word was “ball”. Yeah. You’d think as a parent, I’d be bummed about that. I wasn’t. No, because I’m a father. And like many other fathers, I’ve dreamt of my kid being a star athlete. So, when he blew right past “Mama” and “Dada” and went straight to “ball”, I turned to my wife in fascinated delight, “Is he saying ball? I think he’s saying ball.” Once confirmed, I stood up, inhaled deeply and beamed with pride, “Well, would you look at that.”
The kid is a pretty good athlete. More than freakish natural ability, he possesses a competitive spirit and a solid work ethic. Is he going to be signing a multi-million dollar contract to play in front of thousands of adoring fans? Not likely. Will his athletic prowess garner him a free ride through college? Not discounting it. But really, how many kids get that?
I’ve learned: dreams are mine, reality is ours. I can try to wedge him into my dream, or meet him in our reality. In this real life, I’ve jumped up and down in cheer. Watched as he made that catch and beat the rest to the wall. I’ve put my arm around him to console him, and I’ve barked at him to spur him on. I’ve coached him on the importance of balance, and on not letting the ball get into his palm. We’ve talked of courage. And that you never, ever give up. More than anything, we’ve played ball together – stood out front and tossed it around. And really, isn’t this the dream?
July 2nd, 2012 § 2 Comments
Frank Zappa: “I detest ‘love lyrics’.”
“Yes, Frank! I hate love songs too.” They’re lame. “I can’t live, if living means without you…” “Oh, my love, my darling I’ve hungered for your touch … I need your love I need your love God speed your love to me!” “I”m lying alone with my head on the phone, thinking of you til it hurts. I know you hurt too, but what else can we do? …” Geez. Kick me in the head.
Nope, not just generational. I listen to my kids’ music. The same lameness. “I’d catch a grenade for ya Throw my hand on the blade for ya I’d jump in front of a train for ya You know I’d do anything for ya See I would go through all this pain Take a bullet straight through my brain Yes I would die for ya, baby But you won’t do the same.” Bruno, that’s not love; that’s a big fat lie. The same ol’ whinny, sappy, sorry stuff.
The trouble with “love songs” is there’s really very little love in them. It’s all “me, me, me”; “I, I, I”. Then they glorify the “extraordinary” at the expense of the “ordinary”. From our youth, they make us sigh and long for a life not our own. As the years go by, as gravity pulls our “love” down to Earth, we bemoan, “You don’t bring me flowers … anymore.” C’mon. The pinnacle of love can’t be youthful intoxication.
Love goes something like this: “I’d watch an episode of Glee for ya I’d clean our baby’s pee for ya I’d jump in line at Macy’s for ya You know I’d do anything for ya See I would go through all this pain Wash the dishes, clean the drain Yes I die a little each day for ya, baby And you don’t have to do the same.”