Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Ever-Changing Sameness

One suspects that if Brett Favre (no one has yet explained to my satisfaction how a name with the "V" before the "R" is pronounced "Farve". Case in point: no one travels to the "Lour - ve" to see the Mona Lisa.) was a Native American, his name would be "Bad Penny" or "You Are F***ing Kidding Me, Right?". In what has become an annual rite of summer, Brett has decided again that the object of a boy born and raised in Mississippi who strikes it rich playing pro sports is to spend not one minute more than absolutely necessary in Mississippi after acquiring his aforementioned fortune. Having made the bulk of that fortune on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field as the signal-caller for Lombardi Tech, Captain Carousel has come around yet again, arrived carrying nothing but a jockstrap and a dream and landed on the roster of his third NFL team in as many seasons.

The Prodigal Gunslinger - for whom the long-suffering New York J-E-T-S (JETS! JETS! JETS!) sold what purported to be their collective soul last summer has resurfaced yet again this year. However, having told the Jets several months ago he was retired from professional football, the NFL's favorite (and if he keeps this up - only) BFF - Brett Favre Fan, has re-emerged. He has landed in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Perhaps he does in fact have a bit of fuel left in the tank, contrary to what he displayed for the Jets over the final quarter of last season. Perhaps he seeks to exact a measure of revenge on the Packers, still smarting over the franchise's audacity to carry on without him after he announced his "this time I really mean it" retirement in between the aught-seven and aught-eight seasons. Perhaps he seeks a renaissance in a land long regarded as a bastion for performers whose best days were once thought to be behind them - although more of those Minnesotans end up in elective office than in the Vikes' huddle.

Or perhaps he suffers from the same affliction that seems to affect a disproportionate percentage of the population who earn their daily bread as professional athletes: he cannot tell time. He fails to recognize when it is indeed time to go, time to cede the stage to someone else. Someone younger and, perish the thought, perhaps better equipped to play the role that the aging leading man once played so ably. In fairness to Favre, one could argue that no such individual was manning the quarterback position for the Vikings prior to his arrival on Tuesday afternoon. Tarvaris Jackson has been consistent for his inconsistency during the nascent stages of his NFL career. Sage Rosenfels is about as likely to lead the Vikings to the Super Bowl as are any of his three Scarborough Fair traveling companions. That simply confuses the issue however, which is not whether he is better capable than either of these two to do the job but rather whether he himself is capable of doing it. It is sort of like being the tallest midget at the amusement park. Being taller than the rest of your posse is fine. But if you are not as tall as the cowboy's arm you still are not riding on the roller coaster.

Still, one cannot help but come away from the latest incarnation of Favre with the impression that the once straight route from Green Bay, Wisconsin to Canton, Ohio has been abandoned yet again for a joyride through Insatiable Egoville. Perhaps at Viking home games this year, the team will eschew the now-prevalent practice of handing out towels or hankies to the home fans in favor of miniature replica sponges of #4 in his purple and gold uniform.

It will give all of the team's fans the chance to become as absorbed with Favre as he is with himself. And at day's end, it is for Favre what it has always been for Favre. It is all about him. Here is to hoping that the '09 season ends with him either leading the Vikings to a Super Bowl victory or to an 0-16 season because if the truth lies somewhere in between, I shudder to think who he will end up un-retiring again next summer to join. Three teams down, only twenty-nine to go.

Are you ready for some football?

-AK

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