Long before Kesha and Jennifer Lawrence, way back on the timeline before Ingrid Michaelson and Laura Linney, in a time Hope Solo, Sue Bird and Paula Creamer were just youth-league cuties … there was the MCI girl.
Her cute but creepy ad for the soon-defunct MCI became all sortsa Dream Weaver for me. She resurfaced in Mr. Holland’s Opus, as star-dreaming Rowena Morgan in 1995. In 2000, you could see her in Yes, Dear, married to a dude even dweebier than yours truly.
I thought she’d disappeared after that feeble TV show.
Then I watched 1,000 to 1: The Cory Weissman Story. I resisted, invoking my “No Movies That Star Kids From Disney Shows” clause. But … Cory’s mom looked, so sweetly familiar. The curls were now straight; her lipstick less pow than fire-engine red.
I might act curmudgeonly at times, but really, I can roll with the punches. I finally got a smartphone, remember? I fully embraced Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and gave Fuller House a puncher’s chance (Hi Kimmy.) Agile, that’s what I am.
Still, there’s stuff I miss. Stuff I wish I could bring back.
Like, Summer Sanders. Toys in the bottom of cereal boxes. Ice cream in baseball caps at the ballpark that don’t set you back $8. Cookie Monster, in his full glory. The original Electric Company. The Gameboy. Trading football cards with Tandy Dillen at lunch.
Note: I wrote this stream-of-consciousness post given the one-word prompt “book,” on the blog Life in Progress.
I have to finish this book, y’all.
It’s the one I’ve started and gotten further on than anything I tried to jot in a random steno pad. It’s about the NFL in the 1970s. And here’s the thing: I’ve interviewed former players for this. I’m going to tell the story, in their words.
Former Chicago Bears legend Gale Sayers returned my call for an interview, guys.
I’m not just saying that because I must live, work, and maneuver amongst you for an undetermined length of time. I’m saying this because I hear the bitter denial (it wasn’t you, it was us!), see the sad gazes, know that feeling of watching your team lose a game and sometimes its innocence on the biggest stage of all.
This understated Broncos polo I wear today? It’s older than some of you and belonged to my dad.
I chose it from his closet just weeks after he died. Not to make this a sob story, but it’s a big deal to me. The last game dad saw was Denver winning its second straight Super Bowl, against Atlanta in Super Bowl XXXIII. The win was more relief than jubilation, which is crazy to say about a championship.
I should have been a baritone saxophone player in a studio band. Not a sports writer turned blogger.
I loved jazz. I could hold down the bass line and also rip it a solo. I had a colossal, bad-ass baritone sax named Maddie. I named her after Cybill Shepherd’s character in “Moonlighting.” That’s how cool I was.
My music dreams died when we moved to Carolina from Colorado.
My high school here didn’t have a jazz band. I chose another elective: Astronomy. No one else did, though. Garinger High canceled the class, and made my elective choice for me: Intro to Journalism. I became a staff writer on the student paper, The Rambler.
Every time I look at the NFL playoff picture or listen to any of those talking heads on TV (not you, Stacy Dales. Love ya mean it!), I feel like I’m getting a lump of coal in my Christmas stocking.
Everyone with a microphone and great hair can’t wait for the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks to meet in the Super Bowl. What’s the over-under on overdone praise?
Can commentators announce every Marshawn Lynch run by bellowing “MAR-SHAWN LYNCH!!!!!”? (For 2 yards. But holy hash marks, the guy is just a professional. Never mind that he treats Skittles better than he does reporters.)
We’ll hear about the genius of Bill Belichick and competitive fire of pretty boy quarterback Tom Brady. Don’t know how much the players love to play for Pete Carroll? You’ll learn all about it.
Don’t even ask about the hype machine that is Richard Sherman.
I moved to Charlotte from Greeley, Colo., midway through my sophomore year.
We moved during Christmas break. It was a lonely time, when I was coming to grips with moving two time zones away. I hadn’t lived a day without the Colorado Rockies – the mountains this time – always pointing me west.
During the last week of school, there was a bonfire at Greeley West High.
I remembered it for years after, because I walked on the still-hot embers of the fire later that night, and melted the bottoms of my shoes. I remembered it also because someone saw me staring into the flames and reached out.
Sometimes, a Go Ask Daddy question takes on a life of its own. Grace asked if I would play in the NFL for $1 million, one season. I dreamed of it as a boy. I drew pictures of my jersey as a boy. I practiced my slow-motion touchdown runs for NFL films as a boy.
And I’d do anything for my kids, you know.
I’ll take on the dangerous (fight a tiger, brave bullets, eat salad). I’ll grapple the profane (wear a dodgers cap, red wings sweater or lakers jacket, under threat of imminent danger.) The girls know there’s no limit to dad’s love.
I’m an optimist. But a realist. I’m writing this draft at halftime, with Denver down 22-0. This is a familiar feeling. Denver lost four Super Bowls before they won two. Do you know what it’s like to lose a Super Bowl?
Imagine leaving a tooth for the tooth fairy – and getting a scorpion.
Imagine going to bed on Christmas Eve with visions of sugarplums – and waking up to a bobcat with rabies in your stocking.
It involves highlights of past games. Moments immortalized for all time. There are incredible clips, of Joe Namath’s brash prediction, the crowning jewel of the Miami Dolphins’ perfect season.
The Giants’ Eli Manning destruction of the New England Patriots’ bid for another undefeated year.
It includes footage of Denver Broncos woes, shots of Craig Morton getting sacked, guys named Timmy Smith and Joe Morris ripping the Orange Crush defense, and, 55-10, the final score of a nightmarish Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers.