OUT OF LEFT FIELD
Let It Snow,
Let It Snow,
Let It Snow!
"Okay, Eagles fans, I'm Gov. Ed Rendell. Just sing along with me:
'O the weather outside is frightful,
But the Eagles are so delightful,
So you wusses are free to go,
But , for me, Let it Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!"
--Corrupted version of
standard holiday tune
Can We Call Gov. Rendell Abominable Snowman?
By STAN ISAACS
"Life in America interests me not as a moral phenomenon but simply as a gaudy spectacle. I enjoy it most when it is most uproarious, preposterous, inordinate and melodramatic Gorgeous mountebanks take my mind off my gallstones, my war wounds, my public duties and my unfortunate love affairs, and so make existence agreeable.
The panorama of sports is a rich playground providing the joys which delighted, Mencken, the curmudgeon of the 1920s. There are wondrous deeds, shining exploits and marvelous spectacles. There is also the meat and drink of sports entertainment: The fun and frolic, the boffs and bellylaughs that come from (to use Mencken words) boobs, quacks and frauds who strut across the sports landscapes.
In our Left Field days at Newsday I would present an annual Menck Award in his memory as appreciation of contributions to merriment and sideline delight. That is all prelude to presenting the Left Field 2010 Menck Award to Edward Gene Rendell, Governor of Pennsylvania, super sports fan of the Phillies, Eagles, University of Pennsylvania teams and, for all we know, the Conshohocken Little League Devils.
Rendell lit up the sky during the Christmas season when he complained about the decision to call off the Eagles game in Philadelphia because of a snowstorm. Rendell called the decision a joke and complained that we were becoming a nation of wusses.
He said this about a football game. This hardy spirit who belittled the hardiness of his fellow citizens is a man who gets driven to most events in a chauffeured car or limousine. He doesnt have to walk as much as six or nine blocks from parking fields, through shoulder-to-shoulder mobs to get to his seat. That seat is on the 50-yard line.
Rendell looked out the window at his digs in suburban Montgomery County Sunday afternoon and saw a light snow. He didnt understand how that would cause the National Football League to postpone the game until Tuesday night. The NFL, of course, was getting reports about a bigger snowfall in downtown Philadelphia; it decided it would be too dangerous to have fans driving in the snowstorm to get to the ball park.
A Philadelphia Inquirer editorial called the postponement decision the right call.
Rendell is nothing if not entertaining. He said, If this was China, do you think the Chinese would have called off the game? People would have been marching down to the stadium; they would have walked and they would have been doing calculus on the way down.
This stumps me because I have always heard as a warning about taking games too seriously that there are a billion Chinese who dont care one diddley-poo about any of our World Series or Super Bowl extravaganzas.
Rendell talked about fans missing out on the chance to see stirring derring-do on a snow-swept field. To see Michael Vick running in the snow would have been something the fans would have remembered all their lives, he said. Just as he remembered as a yoot being in Yankee Stadium watching Pats Summerall kick a winning field goal in the snow for a Giants victory over the Cleveland Browns in 1958.
I would be tempted to tell Rendell that if such events mean so much to you, you should get a life. But Rendell has had a rich, productive life-as Philadelphia district attorney, mayor and now Pennsylvania governor. His gubernatorial term is up now so I hope President Obama keeps his beefy, colorful presence around by giving him a job in his administration.
Rendell established his standing as a superfan in a 1989 game when he was involved in a snowball-throwing incident at an opposing coach. Rendell said he paid a fan $20 to see if he could reach the coach with a snowball. People who know Rendell said he was the snowball thrower.
TV commentator Al Michaels noted Rendells passion for sports by saying, Hes a real fan. He calls in radio talk shows more often than Vinny in Paramus.
Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia of New York used to say, When I make a mistake its a beaut. Manly Eddie doesnt back off. He agreed with a fan who agreed with him by calling other fans wimps. And Rendell enjoyed the sign next to his seat at the delayed Tuesday night game that read, Reserved for non-wusses.
Rendell had his backers. None more so than a woman from Bethesda MD. She wrote a letter to The Philadelphia Inquirer blasting the decision to postpone the game. She raged, Man up, Philadelphia because she and her family were deprived of watching the game on television.
* * *
Philadelphia is rich Menck territory. In a conversation with Eagles boss Jeffrey Lurie President Obama remarked that he was pleased to see Michael Vick taking advantage of getting a second chance to play football after leaving prison,. This inspired a Fox network popoff, Tucker Carlson, to turn apoplectic, saying he would have executed Vick. Fox stayed with it, the story escalated, and the dog people got into it by asking anew why Obama had not chosen a shelter dog when he acquired a dog for his kids.
Obama chose a purebred Portuguese water dog because his daughter, Malia, has allergies to most dogs, and Bo is of a hypoallergenic breed.
* * *
And there must be Menckenian laughter coming from down there as a result of the story about the five Ohio State football players suspended because of infractions to good NCAA behavior. One of the crimes: taking discounts from a tattoo parlor.
©2011 by Stan Isaacs. The Stan Isaacs caricature is ©2001 by Jim Hummel. This column first posted Jan. 3, 2011.
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