Sunday, January 08, 2006

Over Brandy and Cigars in the Billiard Room

Beg your pardon, people of Tampa Bay -- what do you call yourselves? Tampans? Man, that's unfortunate. Sorry.

But I'm also sorry for the behavior of the Washington Reagans' Sean Taylor Saturday night. Spitting in Michael Pittman's face was mighty bush, although from my careful review of the game film I could swear I saw Pittman's lips form the phrases "John Ruskin," "Storm Cloud of the Nineteenth Century," and "pitiful fallacy" just before the loogie flew, so I'm pretty sure the bruthas was mixin' it up out there thug life. If I'd been the ref I'd have flagged Pittman fifteen clicks for Intentional Sophistry, but I've been a pre-Raphaelite since the third grade. We all have our prejudices.

What also could have gone either way was the non-catch in the end zone by Edell Shepherd with 2:55 left in regulation. When the blow fell I'd been engaging in a little self-comforting (if that's the term I want), telling myself it was OK, with some pluck, determination and decent time management the Reagans would be able to march inexorably back into field-goal range and salt the game 20-17 with no time on the clock, the way competent teams do, even against Number-One defenses.

For that matter, Hunnish hordes might also have organized a quilting bee in my living room. Nothing's too unlikely.

This sort of quietly expectant confidence in a good team is exactly what we Reagans fans have had cruelly conditioned out of us by blow after blow during the Wilderness Years of Petitbon, Turner, Schottenheimer and Spurrier. And while I'm quite open to the theory that you make your own luck in this world, I'm utterly flabbergasted at how luck deserted the Reagans during the Era of That Pudgy Little Fuck Daniel Snyder, only to return so spectacularly with the miraculous rebirth of Joe Gibbs. Giving Wonder Woman a precis of the game over this morning's breakfast (she's not, tragically, an aficionado of the game), I employed a phrase implied in this morning's Korny Toneheiser WashPost column, an axiom that's always been incomprehensible to me but that sounds so goddamned tough when you say it:

I'd rather be lucky than good.

Can any of you in the Jingosphere please explain what this mot -- hardboiled and gritty though it may sound -- actually means? The whole thing conjures finger-wagging morality tales of Grasshoppers and Ants to this battle-weary veteran (strong-side safety, Oklahoma State, 1979-81).

The saying seems to imply a preference for dice-throwing over competence; perhaps the tough-guy romance of it dazzled the architects of Iraq war-planning, who seem to have adopted it as a call-and-response reply to the people pointing out how utterly criminally negligent their work was:

Looting in Baghdad? Hey, hey?
Rather be lucky than good!

Disbanding the Army and sending 'em home?
Rather be lucky than good!
"Mission Accomplished?" Can I get an Oh, yeah?
Rather be lucky than good!

"C'mon now sucka -- Bring 'em on"
Rather be lucky than good!
Can I hear an Abu Ghraib?
Rather be lucky than good!

The Green Zone's where I'd rather stay
Rather be lucky than good!

Thing about the Reagans is I should by any sane measure utterly hate them. I can understand if you do: slimy, grasping current owner -- luxury-box seats readily available to those with Abramoffic amounts of Tigua money -- original owner a dreadful racist (Shirley Povitch said the team colors were "burgundy, gold and Caucasian"), mortifyingly offensive team nickname (although I do like my idea of renaming them The Reagans, don't you?). Nixon was a fan fer chrissakes, in the era of George Allen the Elder, who spawned Virginia's Worst Senator Ever -- who may bid fair to replace the Worst President Ever.

So yeah. I should hate them.

But, sucker that I am, I just can't. There was a time -- somewhere in halcyon 1969, just before Vince Lombardi died, that the Washington Redskins represented purity, decency, and harmony. 1969: Charlie Taylor, his son in the fourth grade at Forest Edge Elementary where I was a worldy fifth-grader, crawls over the goal-line with a broken leg. 1970: running back Larry Brown became the first Redskins player in history to rush for 1,000 yards, I number myself in the adoring crowd at RFK that gave him the Standing O. Defensive End Ron McDole, in High Seventies walrus mustache and shoulder-length hair, heartily joins a pickup touch football game with me and the neighborhood crowd. His meaty finger accidentally pokes my eye while I'm trying to keep him off our passer. He is mortified, apologetic. I am jubilant that I have received what might be a Season-Ending Injury from an actual Redskin.

Sweet Agony.


Neil Shakespeare said...

"I'd rather be lucky than good" is directly attributable to a fellow named George W. Bush, I believe.

And how ironic is it that Abramoff took all that money from the 'Redskins' to rent luxury boxes at the 'Redskins' games? All those fat Whiteskins sitting there drinking the 'Redskin' booze and eating the 'Redskin' food? Charming.

'Reagans' is good. 'Whiteskin Cocksuckers' would be more truthful & descriptive.

sir eglamour said...

ruck the fedskins.

I was looking for liveblogging the playoffs from your corner, but, noooo, you just sat and watched.

It was a catch in the Tampa endzone, I think I hear you saying. I tried to e-mail my outrage at the call during the game, but the bloody wireless prevented my connecting to the server, which was probably busy running NSA intercepts.

And I need to see pics of you in a football uniform. The only strong side safety-Neddie connection I can make is with a pin.

in the immortal words of Bill the
Cat, ack.

rpjest - what god is doing giving Snyder a playoff win.

ClareToreador said...

Wait 'til Wilbon rips Kornheiser a new one on PTI tonight, Neddie. Wilbon doesn't think it was a catch, either. And neither do I. Alstott on a 2-pt convert, anyone?!!

And Gruden "accepts the verdict," so everyone can just g e t o v e r i t.

A win is a win, as Brunell rightfully said.

harmfulguy said...

I remember the good old days of Gregg Easterbrook's "Tuesday Morning Quarterback" column, before he had 'em cut off as a condition of his employment by the No Fun League. For a long time, he wouldn't refer to the Re****ns by their official name. My favorite was the "Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons" on the principle that "Drainage" is a term that should be associated with any Dan Snyder enterprise.

Neddie said...

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL? Tonight exclusively on The Manifest Destiny Channel, The Washington Whiteskin Cocksuckers take on the K Street Abramoffs at Wounded Knee Stadium in a no-holds-barred grudge match for sole supremacy in the Westward Expansion League!

Sir Eg: I didn't live-blog because I didn't watch the game live. TiVo changes things big-time -- now I timeshift day-games into the evening when I can watch undisturbed and without guilt that I'm shirking some yardwork or parental obligation. The downside of this is the fact that I have to walk around during the day with my fingers in my ears and blinkers on my eyes, to avoid a news item or bit of gossip that will tip the score.

Here's me in my Salad Days as an OSU Cowboy. It's in black-and-white 'cos it was the Sixties. They hadn't invented color yet. I'm number 86. I actually ripped that guy's torso in half, that's why they gave me the, er, Schiessman Trophy.

CLARE!!!!! HIYA!!!

Yes, you're absolutely right, darlin': We wuz OWED.

fizfg: The Dickens character who didn't ask for More.

Mudge said...

I was Bosh Pritchard's paper boy long ago (look him up). One Saturday I was collecting and he had his old leather pads out. Showed them to me. Only thing I remember about being a paperboy other than the young housewife wearing the robe incident.

There is just something about being a kid and meeting a player or an ex-player in a normal situation. Priceless.

sir eglamour said...

"now I timeshift day-games into the evening when I can watch undisturbed and without guilt that I'm shirking some yardwork or parental obligation."

I already knew I was so much less than your equal in so many ways, but now my inadequacy as a parent and homeowner is so painfully apparent that I may be driven by despair to a life of dissolution and sloth. The thing is, no one would be able to tell, eh?

"I'm number 86."


I've often thought your sensibility had an okie bent to it. You wrestled in high school, dipped copenhagen and chugged dew, shot pool in dark rooms on bright afternoons? Still have the pickup, I've seen, and a fascination with a CSA veterans of the War of Northern Aggression.

The pieces are falling into place. Your Cowboy years must have made a huge mark on the man you would become.

bjashvj - you-know-what by the younger miss simpson to get on MTV. no way it could have happened otherwise.

lobby bitefoot said...

"your cowboy years"

there's a song there, I think.

XTCfan said...

No way, Lobby, that's an album title.

By Neddie Jingo: The Cowboy Years

qlhnxso (the name of Neddie's publishing company)