Superbowl Sunday in my past life was my biggest holiday. We got it on. Oh the parties. There was drunken debauchery, laughing, frottage, (spell check does not recognize that word) hella big drinking, and some other things that didn't amount to anything beyond simple misdemeanors. I vaguely remember someone passing out in a plate of food once, people taking off clothes, unfortunately they were always men. Kiss music blaring every year at the half.
The problem with all of that fun is that we were the police department. We kept it pretty quiet but the harsh reality was- I think people knew. Wives were forced into piloting us home. One of the last, great parties resulted in me getting my ass chewed all the way home. And I'll tell ya something else. I remember that.
I haven't really cared who won the Superbowl since Peyton Manning handed the Saints their first win- but this year is different. I've watched Seattle talk trash this entire season, especially Golden Tate. The Seahawk players are terrible. I'm not just talking Sherman after the San Francisco win either. This group of players are punks. They can't make a play without doing some sort of dance. Many of them run their mouths and it's no mystery to me why San Francisco hates these clowns. I never root for smart asses. So I'd like to see John Fox come back from heart surgery, Peyton Manning and Wes Welker get revenge, and watch as the greatest crew of receivers in the league hand the Seahawks their asses on Sunday. Justice would be served all the way around. Their fans can scream all they want- but it won't help them in New York. I have no mercy for this undisciplined bunch.
I think Denver can win after seeing them humiliate the best defense in the league twice this year. Kansas City had shut every team down until they ran into the Denver buzzsaw.
I grew up watching some very good players- but my all time favorite player was Ronnie Lott. Like Sherman, Lott played cornerback but unlike Sherman- Lott was simply the greatest corner to ever play. Lott came running at receivers like a missile and I remember actually cringing when he hit players. Ronnie could bring it. He even finished playing a game once after losing part of his finger. That's tough. And not once do I ever remember Ronnie Lott running his mouth or talking trash about his opponents. Every once in awhile I saw Ronnie linger over the crumpled body of an opposing player- I have always believed Ronnie was trying to determine whether or not to administer CPR.
One day my hero walked into the Woodside bakery (just east of Redwood City, Ca) and I gotta say- he just oozes class.
In fact, that whole San Francisco team back then had a lot of class. That's coaching and player leadership delivered by the likes of Bill Walsh and Joe Montana.
The '85 Bears were trash talkers too but they were just nutty and fun. They had a good time without harassing opponents or telling them they were mediocre. That had something to do with Ditka.
As I was writing this I began to wonder why some people seem to have class and others don't. I observed a lot of folks in action over the years and I think I can tell you what the difference is. In one word. Selflessness.
Selflessness is born out of parents who teach respect for all people and all walks of life. People with class treat others like they really care about them. In fact, genuine class will shock you when you see it. You might wonder- why is this person so nice to me? Do they treat everyone this way?
Pay attention to how people treat the waiter. That is how they treat others.
It's not about verbal restraint or discipline. Or tactics. Or keeping your mouth shut. Class is about modeling and the way you were raised. It's about having respect for people knowing that each one of them has a part to play in your life and that you are no better or worse than any of them. It's about the conscious knowledge that you are not the only human being on the planet who matters or wants a pat on the back. It's about respecting others because you care at the very least- about how others feel. You want to and therefore you strive- to lift people up. You are selfless.
If you have a manager trying to groom others to loftier heights than they themselves have achieved- you have found someone with class.
I wish that I could tell you that I was one of those people. I cannot. I had a few moments here and there but mostly I was self absorbed. Unfortunately, I spent most of my life living like an unconscious idiot- kind of like Sherman without the talent or that nappy hair. What moments of conscious class I did have- were usually brought about
as the result of someone with class modeling that attribute for me and I
in turn- practiced it like I had invented it.
People matter. When this culture of ours realizes that avarice- couple with self absorbed and apathetic behavior is destroying us- then we can finally begin to chart a healing course.
Until then we will have grandstanding, trash talking, dances, and gestures galore. Once in awhile- they may actually squeeze some football in. Let's hope so.
I miss the days when boys played like men.