God, America and The Super Bowl


This towel is old school as well, probably one that Walter Payton used to wipe the sweat off after another 150-yard game. I’m noticing that the Bears logo is exactly the same as the other two I’ve posted, with the chin strap and all that. Must be of a certain era when they used this because I think today’s is much cleaner. I like the old school. Anyway, this is it. This is for all the marbles. I am nervous and confident and tense and fired up and really glad I’m not working on Monday. Two weeks in between games is ridiculous, something’s gotta give.

Now that the Saints have been knocked off it’s obvious this is a godless sport, and that’s fine with me, that’s the way it should be. I was reading an article about the brutal violence that leaves many of these players limping and twisted and wrecked for the remaining years of their lives, what’s left of them. That scene of Wilbur Marshall running back the fumble return in the snow at Soldier Field in ’86 is pure glory and magic and yet, the guy is in shambles now, bent and broken and struggling to pay the bills and get out of bed. Walter Payton is dead, although football had nothing to do with it, but I still can’t get my head around such a strong specimen shrinking down and wasting away like he did. What is the point? There is none. There are moments and then they are gone.

But godammit, it’s a hell of a sport! It’s as American as war and corruption! It’s sick and brutal and primitive and fun as hell to watch. Better them than me, I’d be eaten alive out there. I preferred running and jumping over bushes — Payton over the top! — to any actual contact with people, and with good reason, I would have been crushed like a bug. But someone’s got to do it!

Anyway, it’s time to do this. I can’t take it anymore. Urlacher never called and the limo never came to pick me up, so I’ll be back at the bar on Sunday. I’ll take a rain check on the margaritas in South Beach, let’s just win the damn Super Bowl.

Ah, what the hell would Thompson say at a time like this?

Those who went early said the pre-game tension was almost unbearable. By noon, many fans were weeping openly, for no apparent reason. Others wrung their hands or gnawed on the necks of pop bottles, trying to stay calm. Many fist-fights were reported in the public urinals. Nervous ushers roamed up and down the aisles, confiscating alcoholic beverages and occasionally grappling with drunkards. Gangs of Seconal-crazed teenagers prowled through the parking lot outside the stadium, beating the mortal shit out of luckless stragglers…

Green grass, hot sun, sharp cleats in the turf, thundering cheers from the crowd, the menacing scowl on the face of a $30,000-a-year pulling guard as he leans around the corner on a Lombardi-style power sweep and cracks a sharp plastic shoulder into the linebacker’s groin…

– Fear and Loathing: On The Campaign Trail ’72


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