Saturday, January 16, 2010

It's a Shame About Peyton and Ray

It wasn't supposed to happen this way, I keep telling myself.  The Jets were supposed to be playing the Colts this weekend.  The Patriots were supposed to be playing the Chargers in San Diego.  I had to take some time to reflect on this lost season.  When Cassel and the crew finished 11-5 last year, I was convinced that even with a banged up Tom Brady, the Patriots were going to steamroll through the 2009 regular season at 13-3, wait out a much needed bye week, and then destroy Chargers or the Steelers at home in the conference semi final.  Final stop, Miami.

I've never been too good with names
The Bowl door was open, they could never stay away
I know it's probably not my place
It's either or, I'm hoping for a simple way to say.

Instead, after a curious regular season, the listless Patriots fell meekly at home to the Ravens, despite Joe Flacco completing just 4 passes for 34 yards.  I mean, come on, he played like Tony Eason and the Ravens still left us in the dust!  Now, I could blame a lot of things for this loss - Patriot season ticket holders letting Ravens fans have their seats, the enigma that is Randy Moss, a devastating injury to Wes Welker, curious game calling on both sides of the ball - it's all there. 

Even better, the local and national media, pissed off at Spygate and Belichick's secretive nature, piled on.  It was the end of an era, they shrieked.  Parity in the NFL had finally caught up to the Patriots, they argued.  Every local newspaper columnist, radio show host (other than the Brat Pack on the Big Show - Bratwurst that is) and TV reporter was so gleeful about this turn of events that I was getting an uncanny feeling that awkward high fives were occurring in studios and pressrooms across the city.  Not here.  JMR's household will remain irrationally dedicated to this football regime. 

8:30 pm.  Home.  Thinking back through the numerous times I tried to get them excited about football before, I needed my boys to sit here with me.  Maybe they will grow up being diehard Patriots fans, maybe they will hate Dad for forcing this nonsense upon them, maybe something in between.  I thought it was a good start though when C told me (without me prompting him) that he couldn't believe the Ravens won last week, that they were so bad.  I know I couldn't believe it either.  One thing was for sure, whether I have to lie a little bit, or let the facts speak for themselves, my boys will not like the Colts and the Ravens after tonight.  Remember, it wasn't supposed to happen this way.

First Quarter.  I go with the obvious ones here.  I tell them that Ray Lewis once got in a lot of trouble in Atlanta 10 years ago.  I continued that he was set free after he bribed every member of the jury and judge to get free, which was really, REALLY bad.  I threw that in there so C would stop bribing G to play his Nintendo DS.  Maybe I take some liberty with the facts but what's even worse is what Peyton Manning did to those children at the football camp he was conducting for the United Way.  It was disgusting what he did to them.  I know where Mike Leach got his discipline technique from.  The boys were horrified.  Although G asked me why everyone was laughing at those poor kids.  I told him that it was other members of the Indianapolis Colts thinking it was funny. 

Halfway through the First Quarter, I hear "Dad, number 52 is so fat he knocked the other guy out.  Will he go to jail?"  All right, maybe I should take it easy on the jail stuff.

Second Quarter.  Much more of a conciliatory tone this quarter.  Discussions included earthquakes, flatulence and birthday parties.  The only football-related remark occurred when C sighed "This game is soooo boring."  Until, that is, we all perked up after a brutal helmet to helmet hit by Ray Lewis right as the Colts were driving for their second touchdown.  The umpire and I both called that penalty.

"That was really restless, Dad.  I can see why you don't like him.  I don't like him either."  It's not that I don't like him, I just think he's a dirty player. 

It's a shame about Peyton and Ray.
Hands of stone, under the scrum
their names are still engraved.
Some things need to go away.
It's a shame about Peyton and Ray.   

Third Quarter.  One boy has gone down in flames.  Up to bed he went with a drink and some tucking in.  Can the remaining men get through this game?  The way this game is going, it's going to be tough.  I do like however that C thinks that Peyton Manning is yelling at his teammates (when he's actually calling an audible).  I started to explain what he was actually doing, then thought better of it and simply agreed with his assessment.  The only other highlights are the Ravens blowing not one, but two, interceptions by Ed Reed during the last drive of the Quarter.  Not quite Luke when facing Darth in the final scenes of Return of the Jedi, but I can feel the hatred growing!

Fourth Quarter.  We're all getting tired, so before the two of us start fading away, I turn the tables and explain that these guys really aren't that bad, but that it was okay not to like them, so long as they never acted on their feelings.  Especially on a wall in my house.  With 8 minutes left, and trying to fight sleep, C tells me he wants to go to bed.  I help him upstairs, get some water for him and tuck him in too.   

I know what you're thinking.  It's unhealthy to teach such impressionable children to hate anyone or anything.  Well, I'll have them buy some flowers for Mom tomorrow and draw pretty pictures on their day off on Monday.  If you can't have a healthy dislike for someone or something, then you can't appreciate loving your family and friends as much.  By the way, the dreaded Colts wn the game.

To finally borrow from one of my favorite songs - from the Lemonheads:

If I make it through today
I'll know tomorrow not to leave my feelings on display
I'll put the banners back in place
I've never been too good with names
but I remember faces

It's a shame about Peyton and Ray.

Oh well, we still have next year.  

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