Thursday, February 9, 2012

Oh My

Obviously things didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped last Sunday night.

I was so jeeped up about the Super Bowl, and the Patriot’s chances, that the loss really hit me hard. When the game was over we sat there in stunned silence for a few moments, and then snapped off the TV and quickly went about cleaning up. I figured if I got right to it, I’d wear myself down and be able to crash.

I hate cleanup, especially scrubbing the broiler pan after making ribs, but I launched into it with great fervor. After that, I used some of the leftovers to make lunches, set up the coffee maker for the morning, and then refilled our pet’s food bowls. I did everything and anything I could to take my mind off of the loss, and to keep myself from watching the news.

It didn’t work. Sleep just wasn’t in the cards for me, not yet anyway. I ended up turning on the tube again and browsing the web for a while. Not a good idea.

What’s happened to people? Civility and good manners seem to have gone out the window, and everyone feels that it’s their right to say anything they want under the guise of “reporting the facts”. Pushing their own agendas and grinding their little axes while they rip people to shreds. It’s really sad.

I stumbled across a stunning rant by a Boston Globe writer that really turned my stomach, and finally convinced me to shut down the PC and go to bed. It was that bad. The guy trashed Brady’s play in the game, which is fine. If that’s the way you feel, if that’s the way you saw the game, then spout away, that’s what sports writers do. What wasn’t fine was his diatribe on how Brady’s career is over, and how he’s embarrassed himself and his fans.

He went on to say that Brady is an embarrassment to Mr. Kraft and the whole Patriots organization, that his play was hideous and he single handedly lost the game, comes up with a few really interesting and original names like Tommy Boy, Boy Wonder and Prince Valiant, infers that Brady’s lifestyle and living accommodations are part of the problem, and wraps up with the thought that it might be time Brady hung up his cleats and handed the reigns over to Mallett. Ryan Mallett. That one was actually pretty funny. Problem is, I don’t believe he was trying to be.

The article caused quite a stir, and the next day he was on local radio defending his actions and proclaiming that people didn’t “get it”. He said he was trying to emulate our displeasure, sort of a fan’s take on the loss, and that he knew it was over the top, but went with it anyway because that was his hook, the outraged fan. Needless to say, the interview only stoked the fire. He then went on to print an apology of sorts on, which made it even clearer to me that he was the one who still didn’t get it.

In his “apology”, he bemoans the fact that people were angry with him, that they called him a no talent hack, likened his head to a cue ball and wished him ill will. He also extrapolated that most people were angry with him because Brady can do no wrong in some fan’s eyes.

Here’s the thing; he thinks it hurts when people call him names and demean his performance on a personal level, but he doesn’t see the connection to his article. What he wrote was mean spirited crap and very personal, and yet he whines because people responded in kind. No sir, he just doesn’t get it.

It’s not so much this one article that bothers me, though. The real problem is that guys like this have become the norm. These last few days have been chock-a-block full of small minded pettiness. Some schmo lays in wait for Gisele outside of the family viewing area, baits her, and then films her reaction on his phone. Sad, right? Not as sad as the fact that it was a lead story on the Today show the next morning. I can see the NY rags running with it, but the Today show? And they run it before they get to the Josh Powell story. Amazing.

A losing team dares to celebrate the end of a long and hard fought season, and once again someone records it on their phone; 3 days of news stories. No one cares that these guys have been in virtual lock down for the last 2 weeks under intense mental pressure, or that this might be the last time they see each other for quite a while.

Nope, sensationalism is what it’s all about. Get it any way you can, and cash in, baby. Be the first on your block to bring someone down and you win a prize; instant notoriety. I’m disgusted by it all. We’re the ones that supply the prize, though, so we need to take some of the blame ourselves. We need to stop reading/watching when things start to turn ugly, and we need to hold to that thought and continue to boycott the writer/reporter until their parent company takes notice and fixes things.

We also need to make our feelings known, whether it’s with a comment on the site, or a phone call to the paper or station, both are equally effective. It’s all about ratings, no more, no less. You can’t rant or be trashy when you do it though, otherwise your voice amounts to nothing more than spam. The Globe writer I referenced above has already felt the power of his audience. His article, and the anger it incited, will follow him for quite a while. That’s a start. Inch by inch we change our world.

Personally, I put things to the Oh My test. I have this friend; she’s a very prim and proper person, a librarian by trade. She’s actually the archetypical librarian; when she shushes you, you stay shushed. Whenever she hears something unseemly, she says “Oh My”, and then claps her hand over her mouth. When you hear her utter those words, and that hand comes up and the eyes darken, you know it’s time to change the subject. Simple and effective, so effective that I’ve begun to get a mental image of her whenever I read or hear something that offends my sensibilities. I’ve had quite a few of those Oh My moments this week, hence this lecture.

As for the Patriots and my feelings post Super Bowl, I say this; you can’t let a single loss erase a whole season, even a Super Bowl loss.

I was both angry and upset immediately after the game, there’s no denying that. They could have won if only they had made a few more plays, or a few less mistakes, but they didn’t, and although I was bitterly disappointed, they were in it until the final seconds, and no one on the team can be accused of not giving it their all. That’s what really matters.

I’m not going to dissect the game, the sports writers already have that covered six ways to Sunday. Suffice it to say, it was in their grasp and they couldn’t close the deal. Credit has to go to the Giants, also. They made the plays that mattered, and it kills me to say it, but they were the better team.

I take solace in the fact that on the whole I thoroughly enjoyed the season, and this team gave us way more than we could have ever hoped for. Play was uneven at times, but fun to watch none the less. They just weren’t deep enough in some spots and it showed. On the plus side, Brady, Welker, Gronk, Hernandez and Wilfork all were human highlight reels throughout most of the season, and that bodes well for next year.

A smart and aggressive off season that involves some key additions from both the draft and free agency is the ticket to success for these guys, and I’m confident we’ll see it. Although I don’t agree with “the writer that shall remain nameless” when it comes to Brady, I do think that the window for team success with Tom at the helm is narrowing. With that in mind, I’d love to see Belichick trade some of his picks for a couple of impact players, someone to make a difference right away. I’m thinking a legitimate deep threat (sorry Ocho), a dominant pass rusher and a lock down corner would round out this team nicely.

They’ll be back next season, and I’ll be there to cheer them on, and they’ll be back to the big dance again, too, you can bank on it.

And so will the Giants.

That is all.

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