In today's Herald it's announced that Chad Ochocinco “may” play some exhibition Futbol games with the Palermo Juniors. My hands went cold, involuntarily I began to crumple the paper until it split down the middle and I was holding two wobbly rods of newsprint. Am I to be spared nothing? Not here, no, no, no. I came six thousand miles to get away from the Ochocincos of the world but that wasn't far enough. What's next? Now that the former NFL players haven't much to do will we be visited with images of overly fat linebackers raising money for Japan by entering Sumo Wrestling matches? There's a sight that ought to make you spit up your oatmeal. Some things are simply beyond the pale; synchronized diving for example. Even the lithest of tight ends and quarterbacks would look, at best, odd plunging thirty feet executing an intricate series of whirls and tucks. (But there is money to be made here. However minimal a Speedo might be, there's just enough room to plaster someone's logo on the butt. Or, for the sake of economy, one small logo on each cheek. I'm sure the AAU will love that.)
In keeping with not having anything to do, one of the most amusing bits of publication was produced by the (former) NFL players union. What to make of a caution that suggests that (former) members restrain themselves when considering the purchase of what they euphemistically call “wheeled vehicles”. I know and you know what they're talking about but I'm concerned that the (former) players will. Never a group to understand precise meanings, this may well be interpreted to mean that they oughtn't by their (putative) kid a pram. Indeed the whole jolly tract is chocked full of cutesy-isms that are meant to sound, well, like suggestions but come across more like a book read to an undemanding four year old by a worried parent. (You have to admit, there's accuracy there.)
Elsewhere there are some thigh slappers dealing with guns, alcohol, drugs and “encounters with authorities”. I'll bet. Since many players aren't entirely sure what the meaning, much less picture, of an “authority figure” might be, this could get interesting. I'm not certain which of those “commandments” (along with the regulation 10) have already been broken but I cannot feel I'm too wrong when I say, “Most of them”. As a group, these are not people given to caution, saving for a rainy day, prudent behavior or helping old ladies across the street. Boy Scouts, they're not.
But what are they to do? Trading on their celebrity they could do a great deal of good that would benefit the players. The problem is that it might inadvertently help the overall “look” of the NFL and since that would include their arch satans, the owners, that stops that. They could actually find other jobs to replenish their suddenly empty coffers. Although it doesn't quite come up in my developing tank to see a Steeler or a Cowboy flipping burgers at Mc Donalds. (Of course, if you're a Cowboy and Jerry Jones owns a fast food franchise, all bets are off. I know, he's an owner but still... Equally, I feel certain the Fords aren't going to offer jobs on the production line making F-150s.)
Both players and owners caught a nasty break when just as their protracted negotiations broke down, Japan's nuclear plants did as well. And there was that earthquake and Tsunami....In a sense both players and owners had thought to use the month of March, except weekend which were thoughtfully donated to basketball and the NCAA, to have to plead their case to the country. Who knew that the wailing wall would look like Soldier Field or that it would be in Foxboro? But amidst the genuine problems of others, they were forced back several pages and below the fold. For once, the public was able to discern the difference between real news and created news. And, face it, it's very hard to find sympathy for people who are arguing about how to ante up billions which, ultimately come from the fans. I'm told that I'm wrong on this point, that it's advertising and networks that pay the freight but the reality is, they're paying because they have found the fast track to our consuming little hearts and wallet and that's....the NFL. Also, there's been no seat at the (now abandoned) bargaining table for the fan, no one to quietly suggest that if and when this internecine war is over, that raising prices on everything to cover the monies lost during the lockout would be poorly received.
Now that we're a day or so away from the NCAA Champion, here's a new bracket to fill out, just for fun. Down one side have the Owners and on the top side, a list of dates. Admittedly, it's not much of a bracket but extended over 365 days, you've lots of chances and the take to play could provide a substantial pot. Then there's year two for pessimists although just now I think that's best handled as a “field” bet. Possibly around November or December should there have been no settlement (And I think there will have been for, by then, the players will be running short of cash and a bad deal that pays is better than no deal and no funds at all.) it can be extended into the next 365.
As to the coming visit from Sr. Ochocinco, at least he'll at last be in a place where they'll get his name right.....