Thursday, July 22, 2010

Is it Football Season Yet?

In America's wide world of sports, especially Packer Nation, the NFL reigns supreme. The NFL is a monopoly, with houses and hotels on every street. The NFL runs the playground and bullies the smaller kids. The NFL drives a Hummer, with all other sports stuck in clown cars. The NFL is king, and everything else is merely a temporary distraction.

2010 has been filled with thrilling sports’ headlines. The Yankees are attempting to repeat, and Kobe’s Lakers already have. Tiger Woods is struggling to control his putter, eh hem, and seeking to regain his former dominance. And the 2010 World Cup has made its glorious return, with team U.S.A. set to spring board our country into international “futbol” relevancy.

Oh come on. Admit it, you couldn’t name a third of the starting lineup from the U.S. squad, let alone the champion Dutch. Or was it Spain who won the Cup? Brazil? Exactly. The only memorable World Cup moments that have any hope of surviving the summer sun are Landon Donovan’s game winning goal and those God-awful vuvuzelas. Even the former will fade to obscurity with the first sniff of training camp.

But wait, this is the summer of Lebron! James flipped the sports’ world on its head when Jim Gray, who set Journalism back at least a decade, asked Lebron “do you still bite your nails?” Please. “The Decision” was a farce. Even King James himself, the super hero who vaulted the Cavalier franchise to nearly double its former net worth, is reduced to court jester when rumors circulate about JaMarcus Russel toasting “purple drank” glasses with (sigh) Johnny Jolly. If a report surfaces about #4 slinging Nerf balls to the locals down in Hattiesburg, the sports’ ticker blows up. An undrafted free agent could sneeze, and we would sprint to the nearest computer, television or radio to learn whether or not he reached the tissue box in time.

But John Isner battled through an 11 hour tennis match! Who? But Northern Iowa upset overall No. 1 seed Kansas, and Butler shocked their way into the NCAA Tournament championship game! Sorry, you lost me at “busted bracket.” But NASCAR! (giggle) They all fail in comparison.

Our local Wisconsin sports though, they are on par with the NFL. Really? Let’s be honest with each other. Milwaukee is home to two franchises with incredibly bright futures (too generous I know). The ride Johnny Salmons, Andrew Bogut and friends took us on this past season was a blast. Even being under .500, the potential of the Brewers' core is undeniable. But anyone who wouldn’t bolt from the 9th inning of any 1-1 ball game to catch a glimpse of Jarrett Bush, even him, running laps around the Don Hutson Center is a bold-faced liar. I love the Brewers, the Bucks and even our home grown PGA member Steve Stricker, but the Packers completely dwarf their instate neighbors.

Maybe it’s ignorance or narrow-mindedness. Maybe being bathed in Green and Gold as a child has skewed my fanhood to an epic homerism. Or, maybe I am just desperate for the mind-bending adrenaline rush that is the NFL season. That first update on Mason Crosby’s newfound accuracy (let’s hope), that first glimpse of 4th stringers fighting for their NFL lives during the preseason, that first sack, interception, touchdown and “W” are all enchanting moments impossible to duplicate. Heck I’m even excited to learn what color pen Mike McCarthy will be sporting in his baseball cap this year. Sports in general are great, but there is no rival to the National Football League.

For now I’ll wave my American Flag celebrating the U.S. soccer team. I’ll enjoy the banter regarding Lebron James and whether or not “South Beach” was the correct choice. I’ll probably even flip on the golf channel to see John Daly’s latest wardrobe choice. And of course I’ll faithfully follow both Milwaukee franchises, but the second Mike McCarthy and company are back in business, all else will cease to exist.

My anticipation for the 2010 season has reached a breaking point, and my optimism is probably unfounded. I’m not sure if Jermichael Finley can achieve elite status this season. I have no idea if Clay Matthews can match his stellar rookie campaign. My guess is as good as yours whether or not Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers can establish themselves as legitimate Superbowl contenders. But there is one thing I know for a fact…I am sure as heck ready to enjoy the ride and find out!

(Cue the Monday Night Football intro)

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