Good Little Foot Soldiers

The latest Internet sex scandal involves New York Jets Coach Rex Ryan. From the first word of this post, to the moment I push the publish button, there will be seven more scandals. Anyhow, as Sports Illustrated pointed out, the scandal involved Ryan’s freaking wife. So big deal. But it involved feet. That’s funny. He’s a big man. OK, he’s a fat man. He is. He is a fat, middle-aged man and he likes feet. That’s all funny. On the subway today, I saw the cover of the Boston Metro Newspaper. I saw Ryan’s big imperfect face surrounded by feet. In a single sentence, the headline made a reference to Ryan’s sex scandal while opining that the Patriots were going to win the playoff game vs the Jets. I can’t remember what it was. It wasn’t “Pat’s gotta strong foothold over the Jets.” Nope. Um…maybe it was “Pats gonna make Ryan try to take his foot out of his mouth…or his wife’s mouth…or his wife’s foot out of his…” I don’t know.

Here’s a video of Patriots little wideout that could, Wes Welker, saying “foot” more times than usual for a typical post-game or post-practice interview.

Video means Welker makes my short list of pro athletes I would want to hang out with. Short list includes by-the-way (and I know this lacks relevance): And it isn’t complete:

Shaq (basketball)
Eric Byrnes (baseball)
Khalil Greene (baseball, retired?)
Charles Barkley (basketball, retired)
John Kruk (baseball, retired)

Note, in my opinion players who aren’t married to the game of baseball don’t fit in in Boston. Manny Ramirez created serious tension in New England when he played here. He was perhaps the best player in baseball, but he wasn’t all business in his approach to the GAME of baseball. For instance, during the 2007 MLB playoffs, Manny was scorned for not being sad enough after a loss to the Cleveland Indians. The loss put the Red Sox on the brink of elimination. Manny had an attitude that seems natural for a player who was secure in his considerable talent though still at the mercy of a game HEAVILY reliant on luck. He was criticized for not being fully invested.

“Why should we panic?” he said. “We’ve got a great team.
[If] it doesn’t happen, so who cares? There’s always next year. It’s not like it’s the end of the world.”

Hold on now, THAT’S TRUE- Everything he said. Manny hit many home runs for the Red sox after that. They won the world series after he said that. That year.

“Red Sox” nation didn’t exist before Manny got to Boston. You know what existed? Empty seats and mediocrity. New England doesn’t like to talk about that though. They like to talk about Pedroia and Youkilis being gamers. Getting dirty uniforms and whatnot. Manny is arguably the greatest hitter of the modern era and as he smashed lasers around Fenway for 8 years, he knew dirty uniforms had nothing to do with it. He played a game for millions of dollars a year. He played a game that consisted of lots of standing around in the grass, lots of sitting around on a bench, and lots of hitting little white balls. He knew it was absurd and he didn’t pretend it wasn’t.

Manny was born in the Dominican republic. He grew up in Washington Heights at the northern tip of Manhattan. Safe to say had he not played big league baseball, he, his family, and most of his friends would be financially less fortunate than yours. With a bat, he can hit a ball hard, and that changed everything. That’s gotta be weird. It makes sense that a relative outsider might not treat it all so seriously. I’m sure Manny has seen a Dominican-born valet park a BMW owned by a Newton-born man in a 1000 dollar suit topped off with a Red-Sox hat. And I’m sure he’s seen some genuine East Coast class-separation and condescension loud and clear. The talent that separates worship from condescension probably gave him pause and it should us. Dirty uniform players like Pedroia and Youkilis would likely never be hungry (like the literal definition of hungry- no food) had their baseball dreams not come true. It’s easier for them to to be all life-and-death about baseball when life and death is in a different context. For many American athletes (and non-athletes) “Death” is not making the team.

Oh, the cover of the Metro is “Why the Pats will de-FEET the Jets.” Here is a link to a story about it.

Author: Aaron

Aaron lives in Texas right now.

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