Ah, Jared's Java. Pleasant taste. Slight Monsterism.

Welcome to the home of my mind, where I brew my intellectual and spiritual joe. Sit back and let me pour you a cup or two. I promise not to cut you off, even after you get the caffeine jitters.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

What he means to me...

I have a short excerpt from an article here that I'd especially like those who aren't sports fans to read. I kept it short, sweet and to the point.

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I'm going to miss Brett Favre.

I'll miss the picks. I'll miss them even more than the touchdowns, though he holds the all-time records for both. For it was in failure that we saw how much Favre wanted to win. He wanted to win so badly he was willing to lose. Not just lose. He was willing to be the goat for a shot at being the hero. So many quarterbacks are poor timid souls who've known neither victory nor defeat. Game managers. Not our man. He knew defeat 288 times. There is something poetic about his last pass as a professional ending up in an interception.

I'll miss the pills, and the drinking, and the stories about rehab. Favre wasn't perfect. None of us are. But in his imperfections lay his humanity. He was capable of failure like any of us, and therefore his successes seemed even more amazing. He was real, in a league that often seems anything but.

I'll miss my daddy. That's what Favre's retiring makes me think about. When Big Irv died, and Brett came out and played the game of his life on that Monday night in Oakland, with his teammates and his fans and a nation of mourners, I watched that game with my own father. He was sick then, and I knew what he was thinking. He saw himself as Irv, and he saw me as Brett. We tried to talk a little about it, but words about such things don't come easy. So we just cried, and we understood. It was the closest we ever came to talking about how I would be after he'd gone, except for the time he, without explanation or further discussion, looked me in the eyes and said, "You take care of your mother, son." We sat upstairs, and we cheered. Then the game ended, Favre said a few words and that was that. I forgot about it. Only, when my father died about nine months later, I thought of that game. For days I was in a fog. I had conversations that I still cannot remember having. I spoke, and I smiled, and I did my best, thinking, from time to time, about Favre, and what he must have felt running out on that tunnel. And, when I went back to work a few weeks later, flying into Miami to write a story, I again thought of Favre. He was my inspiration: if that S.O.B. could play a football game after losing his daddy, I could write a simple story.

I'll miss believing anything is possible. That's why watching a football game he played in was fun. You just never knew what he might do, either brilliant or idiotic, and you got the sense he didn't really know either. A lot of people, me included, will tell you pro football is boring. It's predictable and balanced and risk-averse. But there was always one guy who played the pro game like he was still in Hattiesburg at Southern Mississippi. We will all miss that.

I'll miss Kiln, where this crazy journey began. I watched the last game he ever played there, at this Redneck dive called the Broke Spoke. Looking back, it was like we were all celebrating the end of something that we'd never see again. During halftime, the owners of the bar had called up Brett's brother, who was watching the game at Lambeau. Then they handed out shots of the famous Kiln moonshine and the owner called out, "We're gonna do a shot with Jeff Favre." Everyone downed the white lightning, and it burned going down. Once, a lot of folks drank liquor like this. That was a long time ago. Hell, the woods where the stills once smoked and belched are now property of NASA. An hour or two later, the game ended, it all ended, and no one would ever see Favre throw a football in the NFL again. The crowd thinned. The campfires burned themselves out. An era was over.

Wright Thompson is a senior writer for ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine. He can be reached at wrightespn@gmail.com.

For the full article, go here.

1 comment:

Dapoppins said...

you were gone from blog land more than just two weeks, dude.

heh- I said dude.

Um, the way that was written, (well) I was thinking maybe Bret was dead or something. Even I have heard of this guy...lately there seem to be a lot of talk about him, well, duh, now I know why.

And I am glad he is only retiring and not, ummmm, dead or anything.