(Post) Holiday Cheer

Aside from the pesky Rabbi and Priest across the hall demanding that I take down my Kwanzaa candle, the holidays remained true to script. Being a bystander of new definitions of "family" a week prior to "D-Day", I began strategizing my course for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Today’s “families” include: two moms, two dads, multiple homes, endless “step-uncles”, “ex-step-uncles”, and a full tank of gas.

Sprinkle in a wife and her family, a pinch of my obscenity-laced, socially misunderstood outbursts, and how incompatible the two are and you get a man entirely out of his skull.

With every “we’re going to my family’s, too!” from the wife, “who’s house you going to first?” from my brothers, or “why don’t I ever get cook Christmas Dinner” from one of the parental units, my spiral into lunacy worsened.

By the time Christmas Eve had come around, I found myself in a Brooklyn Bank wielding a rifle, leading cheers of “Attica…Attica!”, talking through the FBI phone to my wife Leon, and listening to the confused mutterings of my accomplice - requesting that our jet take us to the country of Wyoming.

It wasn’t until 1:15 that day that I temporarily regained possession of my soul, hunkering lazily in front of the television for the Seahawks vs. Chargers match-up.

While I have long since reconciled my spirit into accepting whatever transpires this season, appreciating whatever the Hawks (and playoffs) bring, I had a vested interest in this game.

A Charger-backing friend of mine, one who’s equally cynical of organized religion, and I made a wager for the ages. The loser of the bet would be subject to a Pentecostal-endorsed, soul-saving ceremony. The ritual itself takes nearly an hour, includes cringe-inducing confessions, shouts to the heavens, and potentially fatal skin sizzles upon our beings.

Machismo and pride forced me into making the bet, but my gut also told me that the winning Seahawks squad we all partook of last year, would finally arrive. Surprisingly, my gut overcame the years of narcotic and alcoholic abuses to prove right.

The Sigmund Freud in me knew, with 100% certainty, that Shaun Alexander’s ego and thirst for aggrandizement would propel him into a dominant performance. The reigning MVP wasn’t going to allow this years MVP, the man who carved up his TD record, LaDanian Tomlinson, to outshine him on his home turf.

And to Alexander’s and the Hawks defense’s credit, Shaun outplayed Tomlinson. He ran tough, quick, and demoralizing. It was hands down his best performance of the year. It may have also been his best performance in a few years, when you consider the patchwork and young offensive line playing in front of him.

Nate Burleson continued to establish his role as a legitimate X-Factor. A weapon harkening back to names like Charlie Rogers and Bobby Joe Edmonds. Every time he fields a punt or snatches a kickoff return, the Seahawks and fans are only a few lazily dynamic steps from a touchdown.

The return of Michael Boulware shored up the run defense, aiding in the recently uncharacteristic containment of a dynamic running back. But, just as it’s been all year, Boulware made at least one fatal error. That game changing error, still being painfully replayed in my mind, will remain unmentioned so this author can save a little face.

The only situation that brought on any negative emotion towards a Seahawks player or coach was the injury to Marcus Trufant.

Once Trufant went down, Kelly Jennings stepped in and played beautifully. Jennings played like you’d expect a four-year starter from the University of Miami to, like a professional. But I couldn’t help but wonder; if he played that well in a game he didn’t prepare for how well would he perform if he were the starter? How much better would this defense have been all year with Trufant and Jennings starting over Trufant and Herndon?

For the most part, the game left me satisfied and eager to see the team continue onwards, into the playoffs. My only small, lingering concerns being ones out of my control or easily remedied. Blown or wrongful calls by the referees. Dropped passes by the usually sure-handed. Or “Def Leppard”, one-armed tackles by the Hawks defense.

All of those concerns only require additional focus, clarification, or effort. They’re ones that can be corrected quickly. Certainly correctable in time for the wide-open NFC Playoffs.

President Eisenhower Warned of this…Bowl Game

In his farewell speech to the union, President Dwight Eisenhower coined a new, prophetic term for the nation to mull over. The term was introduced to explain a new business venture of the industrial age and also quantify a then unidentified future danger.

It was a term that defines a close and symbiotic relationship between a nation's armed forces, its arms industry, and associated political and commercial interests. In such a system, the military is dependent on industry to supply material and other support, while the defense industry depends on government for a steady revenue stream. i.e. “Military-industrial complex.”

I’ll let you the readers politicize, discuss, and think about the pros and cons of such an industry. But no one can deny the existence or validity of Eisenhower’s warning in today’s United States. Look no further than the bowl game played on 12/23/06, the Armed Forces Bell Helicopter Bowl.

Defense industry businesses have become so commonplace they’re even sponsoring something as innocent as our Bowl Season.

Something to think about.

Quick Hits

  • While I usually loathe the coverage and obsession over celebrity spats or beefs in this country, there’s one that has really peaked my interest. The war of words currently taking place between Donald Trump and Rosie O’Donnell is priceless. O’Donnell’s the perfect person to take the “Donald’s” over inflated, pompous ego down a peg.
  • Am I the only one that loved Chad Johnson’s hologram shoes? The NFL takes itself and its image too seriously at times.
  • I found myself watching the Oregon Ducks getting embarrassed in the Las Vegas Bowl instead of the Packers vs. Vikings game last Thursday night. Not a good sign for the NFL or its network.
  • However I did watch NFL Network’s Saturday night game, Raiders vs. Chiefs. While Bryant Gumbel remained horrific in his play-by-play role, Dick Vermeil shined as the analyst/color man. Vermeil had an outstanding ability to explain the “X’s and O’s” part of the game in a way even I could understand. Hopefully the NFL will realize how unique Vermeil’s ability is and give him a full-time gig next year. Who knows, maybe he’ll even cry a few times?
  • Heading into the NFC playoffs, the Seahawks will be the most playoff veteran and successful team. They’ve been there before and know what it takes to succeed heading into the second season. Knowing that, there’s no need to play all their starters or injured players in this weeks contest against the Buccaneers. Rest them, Mike, rest them.
  • If the Seahawks get an opportunity to administer a Qwest Field dismantling of Parcells, Owens, and the “Second Coming” Romo, anything there after is gravy in my book.
  • While I love him for being sexy and talented, I think its time to retire the notion of Pork Chop Womack as a starting Offensive Linemen. His habitual placement on the Seahawks injury report and hokey-pokey in and out of the starting lineup is wreaking havoc on the offensive line’s chemistry. I love you Pork Chop, but you’re a reserve.
  • There’s no better coach to handle Allen Iverson, than the Denver Nuggets’ George Karl. Iverson is the only player, in today’s NBA, that shows as much toughness and tenacity as Karl did in his playing days. While Iverson’s trade to a division rival may be bad for my beloved Seattle/Renton/Bellevue/Enumclaw/Auburn/Oklahoma City Supersonics, it’s a treat to us fans. Now, we get to see Iverson more than twice a year.

Mule Sniff

Obviously this weeks sniff has to go to; “The Hardest Working Man in Show Business”, “Mr. Dynamite”, “Soul Brother No. 1”, “The Minister of Super Heavy Funk”, and the “Godfather of Soul” – aka James Brown. There’s really nothing more I can say about the man, that his nicknames haven’t already.

I have no idea what happens or where you go when you die. But my idea of heaven would include seeing this live, any night I want.

RIP, Mr. Brown.

Donkey Punch

The rebellious ham in me is usually quick to defend athletes who celebrate and entertain in such a way that most others view as unsportsmanlike.

The antics of Chad Johnson, Steve Smith, Joe Horn, Clinton Portis, and the likes coax cheers more often than not. What others may view as taunting or detrimental to the team – I view as harmless fun.

I’ll even take that a bit further and remain sympathetic and understanding of violent or despicable acts within the context of a game. Sometimes that stuff just happens to competitors. We’ve all lost our cool once or twice.

But even my warped sense of reality can’t defend Terrell Owens’ and DeAngelo Hall’s spitting episode.

It isn’t the fact that Owens spit on Hall that bothers me. It’s the fact that he did it only to garner additional headlines.

Its crystal clear that the act and the admission of it on the NFL Network post-game show, was done to once again place himself as the lead story on Sportscenter, on the web, and in our sports pages.

Spitting on an opponent in the heat of the battle due to frustration isn’t right but it’s understandable. Spitting on an opponent because mommy and daddy didn’t love you – and you need attention is pathetic and deplorable.

Mr. Owens…a hearty Donkey Punch to you. Good luck finding a team that will put up with your $&^! next year.

Ryan Davis is the Ghost of Christmas (Undecided Time Frame). You can “channel” him here.

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