Sunday, July 20, 2008

Gotham Bay

Even while on top of the world, it's hard to ignore how far there is to fall.

Gotham's District Attorney, Harvey Dent, had an eerily keen awareness of his own impending fall from grace. Having cleaned up the streets and taken notable steps towards eliminating organized crime, Dent was engulfed in respect and admiration. Despite this wave of glory he was riding, he knew it could not last as he says, "You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." The rest is history.

Today, Brett Favre has found himself in the same predicament. After only one year with the Atlanta Falcons, Favre was traded (for 2002's 19th draft pick) to his Gotham: Green Bay, Wisconsin. He found himself riding a similar wave of glory: two trips to the superbowl and many records: most career touchdown passes, most career passing yards, most career completions, and most career victories (to name a few).

Four years ago, Favre demonstrated a realization similar to that of Harvey Dent. In a New York Times interview, he explained, "I'm running out of chances. You're never guaranteed next year. You're never guaranteed the next game. You have to seize the opportunity when it's there in front of you."

I suppose it could be unfair to draw too many parallels between Dent and Favre: In all likelihood, Favre will not face a tragic disfigurement. He will probably never pull a gun on Ryan Grant or the other heroes of his city. All in all, the details of the two tragic falls will have very little in common.

But the details are trivial compared to the big picture. Four years have gone by and Favre has stuck with the game. Although he has technically retired, he is trying to reneg this act out of fear that it may have been premature. Has he waited to long? Should he have hung up his pads for good when he saw this coming in 2004?

Should he have left the game as a hero?
Is he going to stay until he becomes the villain?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bye Bye Bye To The Past

I am a camp counselor. My job, in a nutshell, is to make sure children don't die. Parents come and drop their kids off at a park for a few hours so they can go do 'parent' things. I am not totally sure what a 'parent' thing is but my guess is that it's just them thinking of all the things they COULD do in these next few hours but really they just sit-down with a box of tissues and wonder why they ever had these blasted children.

Anyway, the other day I decided to get adventurous and sign up for the station called Dance. If the station Dance existed anywhere other than a camp then everyone over the age of 16 would be arrested. I stand and watch girls choreograph small dances. Only the girls are 10 years old and the dances they choreograph are to Hannah Montana songs. Lets just say R. Kelly would have to seek medical assistance for an erection lasting longer than 4 hours.

During this station I made the decision to go a little old school. With the first N*SYNC compact disk about 3 feet from my eyes and me being an abnormally large fan of Justin Timberlake, I popped that thing in faster than the euthanization of Eight Belles. The first song is a classic. I sang 'Tearin up my Heart' like it was my job as the small children looked on in confusion. 'Surely they knew N*SYNC', I thought to myself. And then my world crumbled as I was telling the children that the band singing was N*SYNC. One of the younguns asked "Whats N*SYNC?"

This was the first time I have ever actually felt old. The fact that Hannah Montana is infinitely more popular than N*SYNC blows my mind. Thus, bringing me to the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays. (Sidenote: The fact that a major professional sports team can just take out a word out of their team name and the general public just accepts it is a feat in itself. It's like when Michael Vick went from Michael to Mike to Michael in a span of four years. I heard he's going for DogKiller McVick next.)

The Tampa Bay Rays are basically singing "See You Again" right now. The Hannah Montana wannabes are on top of the baseball world. I keep hearing the saying 'These aren't your father's Devil Rays.' Hell, these aren't anyone over 10 years old's Rays. The past 3-4 years everyone and their brother could see the talent the Rays had compiled. Crawford and Baldelli were the big two a few years ago. Now, Baldelli is permanently injured...seriously, and taking over for him is a cast of Upton, Iwamura, Longoria, Navarro, Kazmir, Sonnanstine, Shields, and a whole bunch more. They also have #1 overall draft pick David Price tearing up the minors right now just waiting to come up. This is not just a feel good story anymore. The Rays, like Hannah Montana, are very young, hot, and talented.

As for N*SYNC, my only comparison for them is the New York Yankees. As much as I hated those old Yankee teams, they were very, very good. They had those classic teams (classic N*SYNC albums), the great players (songs), and even the young, superstar waiting to happen player (Jeter and JT).

Now? Sure everyone knows who JT and Derek Jeter are. But few under the age 15 can name the other members of those squads. Brosius, O'Neill, Williams, Cone, Knoblauch, Martinez were all perfect components to those championship teams. Much like JC, Lance, Joey, and Chris were perfect to those platinum N*SYNC albums. Both sputtered out around 2000, everyone going their separate ways. People who are 15 years old were only seven when those two teams last hit it big.

I have officially come to the realization that times have changed. The Rays and Hannah Montana are now the new hip things. The Yankees and N*SYNC are in the past. And we live in a world where fewer and fewer things of the past are appreciated.

Regardless, there will always be a place in my brain for the words to 'Tearin' up my Heart'.