Tuesday, October 20, 2009

57 Channels and 14 Stations

In the interests of full disclosure, I must acknowledge that even when - as a child - I attended Catholic elementary school, which I did through the fourth grade, and church on Sundays, which I did through the twelfth grade, I was not what one might call the most attentive stink in the pew. Actually, other than when the choir would break out the great-sounding music in and around Christmas I had little interest in - and paid the corresponding amount of attention to - what was happening around me.

I mention that - upfront as I did - because it is possible that I am the one failing to comprehend the natural order of things. I was wondering that yesterday afternoon as I was bailing out of work early so that I could meet up with my brother-in-law Russ and head into Philly to watch Night #3 of Springsteen at the Spectrum. As I drove south from my office in Morris County, I was listening to caller after caller to WFAN's Mike Francesca express a combination of outrage, dismay and - in some cases - something akin to betrayal over the play of Mark Sanchez. He is - of course - the #1 pick of the Jets in this year's NFL draft and the anointed one at quarterback, having won the job left vacant when Brett Fraud took his traveling lotions and potions show and moved back to the great American heartland.

Another true confession: I am not now and have never been a Jets fan. I do not root against the Jets but they are in football what the Mets are to me in baseball, which is a second New York-based team that competes in the same professional sport as a team about which I truly care. Other than when Parcells ran things for Gang Green they have never done anything to capture or to hold my attention. I do not dislike them but my feeling towards them is one of pure ambivalence.

It was with some amusement that I heard caller after caller to Francesca's radio show sound as if each was on his way to Ye Olde Torch Shoppe to make sure there was a wide selection of slow-burning lumber left to choose from before heading over to Sanchez's place for the lynching. Clearly I misunderstood the progression of all things Roman Catholic as a boy. I thought that Crucifixion occurred prior to canonization. In Sanchez's case, it has been just the opposite.

In fairness to the kid, he did not show up in New York and declare himself (a) God's gift to professional football; and (b) the greatest thing to happen to the franchise since Sonny Werblin's titanic purchase of it from from Harry Wismer way back in the day. Rather the media and the team's fans did. No less of an authority than Joe Namath pronounced Sanchez the real deal. Apparently when Namath does something that pleases the franchise, they conveniently forget (and ask all of us to do likewise) that the last time we saw Tanqueray Joe he was trying to pull an Erin Andrews on Suzy Kolber during a live TV feed on Monday Night Football.

So what does the future hold for Sanchez? I do not pretend to know. I do know that it never ceases to amaze me that human nature being what it is the only thing we do more zealously than root for someone else to succeed is root for that same someone else to fail.

Can I get an "Amen"?


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