Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Into the Modern Era...

Despite the assured move from one Bay to another, this, dated today, from the Minneapolis Star-Tribune regarding Brett Favre's status:

"The sources were also under the impression that the New York Jets were not out of the running for Favre's services."

As an altar boy in a small town in New York, there were two churches for the one Catholic parish - one Italian, one Irish. Everyone in town knew that the big Catholic church in the center of town was the one founded by the Irish, the one where the pastor lived. The other, humbly made from the granite pulled from the nearby quarry that had also been used to construct the nearby Kensico Dam, was the Italian "chapel." The Irish ran the parish, and one day the pastor decided to take the statues and idols out of the Italian church due to what he deemed "excessive idolatry." Statues of saints Mary, Jude, Joseph, Anthony and Clare were there, but so too were saints lesser known to Americans, like Cabrini and Rocco, who pointed to a wound below his knee. When the residents of the "Flats," as that section was deprecatingly called, heard of this, they were up in arms. To them it didn't matter if the pastor was addressing an issue as old as the Nicene Creed, nor that he was insisting that the Italians in town move into the modern era. Their point was not that the idols meant anything literal or miraculous; the objects simply gave inspiration to the believers. He soon saw that his would have been a losing battle for many years to come. Embittered devotees do not always forgive a slight. The statues stayed.

I'm actually grateful not to be a Packer fan. I'd prefer to go without feeling angry an entire season that a man I had come to treat like a parish icon was not welcome on my team anymore, all in the name of "moving forward" toward the club's modern era. Did Mike McCarthy insinuate that Favre was making a deal with Ted Thompson back in March for Favre's non-retirement retirement just to drive the quarterback crazy? Was McCarthy telling the truth? I can't imagine that either McCarthy or Thompson will really be better off taking the idol out of the church. As Boomer Esiason has said (and it's difficult for me to say that) no one will care whether or not the Packers made the right decision when Favre will be inducted into Canton. Packer fans will remember that he was spurned by the team, and they will not be any happier than they are now, unless Aaron Rodgers leads them to the Super Bowl in the space of time between Favre's Florida arrival and his induction speech. And that is unlikely to happen, even with Rodgers' admirable character habits, like last summer's flirtation with the fu manchu. More likely is the possibility that the people forcing Brett Favre out will already have been looking for new jobs by the time he is immortalized in bronze.

Too much of my summer has been taken up looking for quotes like the one above. There's been too much time following the insane Favre story and chastising myself for following it, knowing that the Jets are really not in consideration for his services. I know it. You know it. We have two - eventually three - quarterbacks. (Sigh). Let's just get going. Nobody's adding an idol in this parish (or building a church, for that matter). Who wants to be guilty of idolatry, anyway? Packer fans, witness to occasional miracles, are entitled to it.

A grievance, though. I would like to take issue with Harvey Araton of the Times, for suggesting the Mangini and the Jets are unworthy of Favre's attentions because of Mangini's breaking of an "honor code" (among whom? the "honorable?") and turning in evidence on Belichick. As if there had been no AFL to begin with, the Times would prefer the Jets just go away, as if they were a nuisance taking us from the full focus that they want to give the Super Bowl champion Giants. Even when the Jets were helping to prosecute dishonesty (and usually the only way to do that is to hear the canary singing of other dishonest men, like Mangini) they remain at the fuzzy end of the city's lollipop. Such is often the fate of the squealer. So be it. I'm still glad Mangini did it. The city itself still remains a bastion of the Yankees-Giants world. So be it, too. The Jets have always been the working class team, and nobody gives the blue collar anything. He must fight for his place. Though I am neither a fan of Mangini nor of the cynical leadership of Woody Johnson, I still prefer the sentiments of Angel Navedo, my personal favorite in the world of Jets blahg insanity. He has helped me to believe in my own my gut feeling from the beginning that, for better or for worse, we don't need Brett Favre. Damned be my own science fiction and pipe dreams to the contrary.

Pennington at QB. Clemens at QB. Ainge somewhere in the hazy background. Time to move into our modern era. God help us. J-E-T-S.


Anonymous said...

M - Great post. You know the Flats are still there, only now it's almost exclusively Latino. The American dream recycled.

Martin Roche said...

But hopefully the statues stay.