Meehan: The masquerade abides
Park Record columnist
So here’s the deal. No matter how intellectually I attempt to couch it, I’m a football fan. Neanderthals need love, too. For the most part, what I most emphatically am not, however, is a football-fan fan.
“For the most part” is the operative phrase, here. Like, say, if you, dear reader, are a football fan, you are exempt from my blanket condemnation. Save for you, and my family, who carry the USC Trojan virus, I find them to be somewhat limited in scope.
Myself, I like to watch the offensive line and the linebacker corps to see if I can recognize whatever subtleties may or may not be in play. Truth be known, however, I find baseball to be “chess,” maybe, at times, even “Go,” while I find the rest of them, including football, to be various levels of “checkers.”
That being said, from backyard to the larger venues, I am a fan. Actually, I’d pretty much forgotten about the National Football League. From the moment their uppity white owners gave the go-ahead to move my Los Angeles Rams to the Budweiser-soaked pastures of St. Louis, I had relocated them to the backburner.
I know, L.A. had stolen them in quite similar fashion from Cleveland years before but the almost seamless arrival of the Browns had lessened that impact. L.A. would languish for years in NFL purgatory prior to the Rams’ recent reappearance in southern California, which, by the way, did little to return the NFL to my good graces.
A USC and Utah man was I. The purist pursuit of college ball monopolized my passions for the eleven-man game. I’m not even going to go to how much I miss my weekly jaunts along Park City Mucker rugby sidelines. But, as far as the NFL, I just don’t like ‘em. But, as mentioned more than once, I am a football fan.
Which isn’t to say I don’t follow Ute and Trojan alumni when they go on to the next level. I mean, that’s a given. I just don’t pay nearly as much attention to them as I did during their undergraduate days.
Of course, the dead horse I continually beat about the head and fetlocks relating to the realignment of local high school football continues to nag at my comfort zone. Wandering Wasatch and Park City sidelines, flaunting my Wasp fandom in front of my Miner friends, certainly turned my crank. And, now, that too is gone.
But out of the blue the void I seldom felt reappeared on my internal cathode-ray screen. The NFL, that is. There it was in all its gory. I mean glory. And all it took to bring back those wonderful memories of yore was a genuflection by a San Francisco 49er quarterback of color and the rabid reactions of Caucasian fans – excuse me, I meant patriots.
I ought to be FIRED! But enough of that. I’m being ungrateful. Somehow I never got the memo that we whites had, by birth alone, acquired the moral high ground. Now I feel better. No longer must I accept responsibility for actions done to others by my genetic forefathers.
I especially loved the reference by he-who-shall-remain-nameless that the NFL had morphed into a bunch of unmanly sorts who pay undo attention to head injuries than to providing gladiatorial testosterone boosters to the white demographic that pays their salaries.
All of a sudden, just through one of his momentary rants, he moved me closer to the NFL. Whoda thunkit? I loved seeing Brady, nearly undone by the complexity of the moment, with head bowed, arms linked, and hand over his heart. Not that I, myself, don’t have a history of out-of-sight out-of-mind bigotry associated with the pigskin game.
What comes most quickly to mind is a Heisman race won by my hero Paul Hornung, a white (goes without saying) quarterback from Notre Dame whose team only won two games against all manner of more statistically-worthy opponents including a man-among-boys from Syracuse by the name of Jim Brown.
That may well have been my initial moment of ecstatic dancing when I got the word that Hornung had won. But as I grew older and better able to actually process what was happening on the field and in the minds of white male fans, my ecstasy took on less of a glow.
My masquerade abides, however. I’ve still got that going for me.
Jay Meehan is a culture junkie and has been an observer, participant, and chronicler of the Park City and Wasatch County social and political scenes for more than 40 years.
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