Monday, May 21, 2007

Legends of the Fall [not the bad movie]

Both have been called the greatest to play their respective positions. Both have seen the promise land and won a championship. Both have felt the pain of falling short in the biggest game of their lives. Both are enigmas in their locker rooms, to their organizations, and their sports. Both are rumored to retire or return for another season (or more) seemingly daily. Both are salivated upon by the media, specifically ESPN, at a near nauseating frequency.

One is a pitcher named Roger Clemens.
One is a quarterback named Brett Favre.

That is where the comparisons seem to end. Forget the awards, the records, their contracts, or even the disparity in their supporting casts. Instead, try and decipher which athlete, detailed rather vividly in the mini-biography below, links to either Clemens or Favre. Then maybe you can decide whom you’d root for.

He’s extremely camera-friendly on and off the playing field. He makes an insane amount of cash, seemingly five-to-six months out of the year, working usually once a week. Not surprisingly, his work ethic and preparation are unparalleled. No mistake about it, he wants, no demands, the spotlight. He’s willing to take on everything that accompanies it too. You might say, he’d have it no other way. It’s why he can’t help but return when he’s needed the most. Whether it’s the first minute of the game or the closing seconds of a playoff chase, the light will always be shone directly on him. That’s how it is when winning is everything for you; yet, it’s a distant second to family.

After each and every game, part of you wonders if this is the last time you witnessed a legend that may never be followed. Just imagine how their hometown fans feel. After a negative performance, his detractors pine for his now-faded glory days…until they’re shortly reminded, during even the briefest moments or excellence, that his glory days, and overall legacy, will never be forgotten.

He may not be a true teacher of the game, but his peers would be fools not to soak up almost every tangible piece of knowledge he may lob your way, directly or not.

Fans, even those brandishing media badges, gawk over him like a six-year old with Spiderman. He has an intense flair for the dramatics. He isn’t afraid to fail. He annoys you to death sometimes…mainly because he’s still capable of being that good. You’ve rooted against him for years, only because he’s never been on your team. You’ll miss him, much more than you think or expect, when he’s gone.

Who is he?

By now you should’ve realized, he’s Brett Favre and Roger Clemens.

Funny how often that happens…

Until next time…

1 comment:

Paymon said...

Great post, Clement. The parallels between Favre and Clemens are stirring. I think Clemens is far better at what he does though and everyone in Wisconsin and Kiln, Mississippi want to kill me.

Of the last 25 years, Clemens, as much as I hate to say it, is either 1st or 2nd to Maddux in my flawed book.

I can't say the same about Favre over the last 25. I would have to put Montana, Marino, Manning, Elway, and Brady (yes, this early) ahead of Favre and I would be favorable to Steve Young had it not been for Favre's longevity. I bet I missed a QB or two.