Monday, January 4, 2010

Always Give Up and Never Try


Always shoot for mediocre, don't try hard, and always expect to fail. Giving up before you try is what winners do. Hey, you know that, because these other guys failed, you're gonna fail too, right?
Right?
Tim Tebow has been a great story, but I'm concerned about how this story ends. It's not the Florida fan in me, or the Tim Tebow fan in me, because neither fan exists. But the writer in me? The writer in me exists, and the writer in me is concerned. Writers love a good story, and we especially love a good ending.

And Florida quarterback Tim Tebow's story should have ended Friday night in the Sugar Bowl.

Not his story overall. I'm not asking for the young man to die. I'm asking for him to retire from football. Wouldn't that be perfect? Seriously -- I cannot imagine a better ending, a more fitting ending, for this once-in-a-lifetime football player than his immaculate Sugar Bowl performance, when he threw for 482 yards and ran for 51 and produced as many touchdowns (four) as incomplete passes.

We should all be so lucky as to go out like that -- knowing our limitations, knowing we have reached the apex of our career, and leaving on our own terms. That would be like me winning a Pulitzer Prize and then smashing my laptop to pieces after accepting the award. (I'm never winning a Pulitzer; I know this. It's an analogy, people.) That would be like Bobby Bowden passing Bear Bryant with 324 career victories at the declining age of 72 and then stepping down (OK, another bad example).

It would be like Jim Brown winning the NFL rushing title in 1965 and then, at age 29, retiring from football.

It would be like Dodgers pitcher Sandy Koufax going 27-9 in 1966, the best season of his superstar career, and then retiring at age 30.

It would be like Rocky Marciano knocking out three fighters in 12 months and then, in 1955, retiring at age 32.

No, it would most emphatically NOT be like any of those incidents. This is where the hubris of the sports commentator or writer interferes with reality. Mr. Doyel wants shining glory and perfect endings and familiar absolutes. The real world has none of these things when a person really strives to achieve something and has something left in the tank.

You can compare two great quarterbacks--Joe Montana and John Elway. Montana felt he had more football in him, so he toughed it out and tried to add to his considerable legacy. Elway retired after winning a Superbowl. I would suspect that Elway's decision was different because he didn't feel that he had it in him to win a third Superbowl. That's his right, God bless him. His legacy takes no tarnish, nor, in my mind, does Montana's.

Even Dan Marino continued on, having one of the most horrendous games of his career. Should that have finished him? It all comes down to the quality of his play and his determination to come back. It has nothing to do with making it easy for some jackass with a pen and paper to tie up loose ends. Competitors will always come out and play if they have it in them. Each pro athlete makes a tortured decision to retire.

To say that a young man who is absolutely unformed and without one single snap in the NFL should give up before even trying is the height of absurdity. Let Mr. Tebow do whatever he wants.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

No One Hires Kathy Griffin for Her Judgement


Kathy Griffin makes some new friends on a plane


CNN probably likes the pairing of Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin. I can't tell which one is which, when I'm not focused on the screen. In point of fact, on the kitchen television, they merge into one ridiculous talking head. I say this with irony when I point out that you can look for a whole lot of phony outrage about this:



For the second straight year, comedian Kathy Griffin ushered in the new year by saying something vulgar on CNN.


During the network's live New Year's Eve broadcast from Times Square, Griffin was joking with co-host Anderson Cooper about how to pronounce the first name of "balloon boy" Falcon Heene when she mumbled something that sounded a little like "Falcon" and a lot like the F-word.


Cooper hung his head, shook it and said "You're terrible," before resuming his banter.


The network said in a statement Friday that it "regrets that profanity was used during our New Year's Eve coverage."


During the same show a year ago, Griffin gleefully shouted at a heckler in the crowd and made a joke implying that the man performed gay sex acts for a living.


In a statement released by her publicist Friday, Griffin made light of the "balloon boy" joke: "Like every other serious reporter covering the now infamous balloon boy hoax, I struggled to pronounce his name 'Falcon' correctly and have gotten a kick out of how many ways I've heard it pronounced by other serious reporters. Just add me to that list and happy new year!"



Now, if there's an outcry over this, I'll be shocked. You mean to say, there are still people who watch CNN? Enough to make a difference to the management of the network? Kathy Griffin makes an off-color remark with profanity attached and this shocks you? What were you thinking when you hired Kathy Griffin? That she would comport herself with ladylike dignity and maintain a high standard of broadcast excellence? She says and does things for attention. She's Teresa Giudice without the career prospects and a savvier version of Snooki without the dignity.


Do you get the impression that the producers and managers who hire people like Griffin are counting on controversy in order to compensate for the fact that there's hardly anyone worth watching these days?