Sunday, January 27, 2008

How to Cope When the Yards Come Up Short

Here I am again, needing to apologize for an extended absence. This time I can't blame my lack of blogging on my daughter. I can't blame it on my new position at work. And I can't even blame it on the women of The View.

(I must say, perhaps the only negative outcome to having our first child is the fact that my wife started watching The View while she was on maternity leave. What's worse, she now DVRs it and watches it in the evening. I try to remind myself that she did indeed graciously sit through numerous football games that I was only interested in because my fantasy team's tight end or third wide receiver was playing...but still. There's only so much a man can take. I think I've figured out why I'm having those reoccurring nightmares about drowning in a vat of estrogen. Needless to say, my next child really, really needs to be a boy.)

No. The fact is--I was afraid. I was afraid to blog about the Packers. That's as honest and simple as I can put it. I was 100% determined that the moment I started to type about the emergence of Greg Jennings or how Donald Driver is the most underrated wide receiver in the league or why Donald Lee might be the most important ingredient for the offense, the wheels would fall off the Packer caravan. And the truth is, I'd never forgive myself.

I realize my superstition probably seems silly. But you're talking about the guy who begged Ted Thompson to sign Larry Johnson, only to watch LJ pull up lame and ruin my fantasy football season in our No Sallies League. Your talking about the guy who sang the praises of Yi Jianlian only to watch him throw up a 1-for-6 shooting, 2 rebound performance the day after the blog was posted. Forgive me for wanting to have kept my mouth closed about the Packers chances. Actually, now that I think about it--you should probably be thanking me.

During my absence, it was nice to get emails from three of my readers, asking when my next blog post would be on the way. (I do wonder where my other four readers where during this time...but I'm just insecure like that.) This weekend, I received an email from a high school friend, Brian, who asked if I had moved the blog to a new site. Brian is in New York, and if my blog gives him just the smallest taste of what the sports scene is like back in Wisconsin--then dammit; I owe it to him. I owe it to all seven of my readers. So I'm promising to post something every weekend moving forward. I'm just not promising how long that promise will last.

But it's not like I can jinx the Packers anymore this season. This afternoon, my mother was in town for Darian's baptism, and she asked me if I was over the loss to the Giants yet. I answered as honestly as I could: I'm not even close. It looks as though I'm going to have to pass through all of the stages of grieving. I was in denial the night after the game, anger Monday through Wednesday, and I'm still hanging out in the bargaining phase as we speak--"Come on Brett, give us one more year."

As much as I've tried to tell myself that back in August I would have been thrilled to be cheering during the NFC Championship game, I can find no solace in that accomplishment. This weekend, one of the cable networks was showing the movie, The Whole Nine Yards, and I've decided that this movie is the perfect metaphor to represent the Packers 2007-'08 season. You see, I like The Whole Nine Yards, I think it's a pretty well written movie. Matthew Perry pretty much plays Chandler Bing in it, but Bruce Willis is quite funny. And the two make a pretty good team, comically speaking. The script has some fun reversals; Michael Clarke Duncan makes me laugh; and Amanda Peete is, as they say, easy on the eyes. But then you get to the end of the movie and have to hear what may be the worst line to ever have been crafted in the history of Hollywood. As Matthew Perry is finally getting a chance to propose to Natasha Henstridge, she asks him if he really wants to marry him, to which he replies something along the lines of "No. I don't just want to marry you. I want to marry you more than any man has ever wanted to marry a woman in the history of the world." Okay, that's probably not the exact quote. But it really is something like that. And the first time I heard the line, it nearly ruined the whole movie for me. I started wishing that Jimmy the Tulip had just shot Oz on the boat. That would have been a more satisfying ending than that corny ass line.

And that's how I feel about the Giants game. That one painfully depressing lame-ass Sunday almost negates all the fun I had this season watching the Pack from September to January. That one loss almost erases the memory of an otherwise spectacular and almost surreal season. Just like one bad line from Matthew Perry practically killed my enjoyment for an entire movie...

But I did watch parts of the The Whole Nine Yards when it was on this weekend. I just tried to avoid that one dreaded line. And I suppose, when I go back and watch the highlights of the Packers' season, there will still be moments I'd like to see. Let's take a look at my favorite moments in the movie and see how they compare to Packer highlights...

1. The Return of Natasha Henstridge to the big screen. Admit it, if you were a guy living in the '90s you enjoyed Species. And it had nothing to do with the plot. No, it had much more to do with the sexy naked alien who was walking around naked looking only to mate with and kill numerous men while she was stark raving naked. On top of that...she was naked. You figured there would be worse ways to die. And you frequently pressed rewind on the VCR.

PACKER EQUIVALENT: The return of Brett Favre. Not sure who the old guy posing as Favre the past two years was, but it sure was nice to see the real Brett back again. He walked around with a killer confidence, he made sexy plays, and he reminded us all why he's Wisconsin's all-time great sports icon.

2. Seeing the softer side of Michael Clarke Duncan.

PACKER EQUIVALENT:Seeing the funny side of Mark Tauscher. He may look a bit like a drunken redneck, but the kid from Auburndale is articulate, insightful and downright funny. Whether he was on the Fox 6 Blitz, Steve the Homer True's "Tuesdays with Tauscher" or introducing Brett Favre on MNF as Vinnie Testaverde's dad, the man kept us entertained. The Packers haven't had that kind of locker room character since LeRoy Butler hung'em up.

3. Amanda Peete's topless scene in the window.

PACKER EQUIVALENT: Favre to Jennings in OT on Monday Night Football. It was hands down the sexiest play of the entire NFL season, certainly the most memorable, and something you could watch again and again.

4. Willis throws Perry a beer. It's a small moment near the end of the movie, not too long before the fateful line that ruins it all. After Jimmy the Tulip shoots Frankie Figs, he tosses Oz a beer. Oz, in shock over Frankie getting killed just lets the beer pass by and it lands harmlessly in the water. It's a subtle moment, but it makes me smile every time I see it.
PACKER EQUIVALENT: Favre throws snowball.

Not long before the disgusting conclusion to the season, Favre is playful in the snow. All is well. And it makes me smile.

So there you have it. There are great memories to take away from the season. That one game doesn't have to ruin it all for you. Just don't ask me to watch the Super Bowl.

Because truth be told, I never watched THE WHOLE TEN YARDS either. For some things you just can't forgive...