By Baxter Black: PNT columnist
In the fall of 2008, before the election, as the recession crashed down around us, I gave up on politics.
It appeared that no one on either side, on Wall Street, in Detroit or in the media had a clue. It was like listening to a basket of turkeys expounding upon the Big Bang Theory.
In the place of politics I became a sports fan. Previously pro rodeo was the only sport I followed on a regular basis. By last summer I was engrossed with Major League Baseball and watched the Yankees win the World Series.
Then in the fall, college football captured my attention. They climaxed with the Soup Bowl, the Broccoli Bowl, the Emesis Basin, the Tangerine Tureen, the Gravy Boat, the Copenhagen Cuspidor, and Rudy’s Auto & Salvage Bowl.
We went to the National Finals Rodeo in December and watched Trevor Brazile, our version of Peyton Manning, earn his place in history.
Sunday afternoons I could cloud my mind with professional football. I rooted for the Arizona Cardinals out of geographical sympathy, but they were beaten by the eventual Super Bowl winners.
I missed most of the NFL playoff games because I was on the road but I did catch the Super Bowl … in its entirety, commercials and all. It looked like Larry the Cable Guy had taken over the ad agencies and written their copy. They were funny but they did make you cringe sometimes.
It was interesting to see the press play up the New Orleans Saints. Winning the Super Bowl would be proof they had risen from the devastation of Katrina and would result in the subsequent healing of the city.
The players were carrying the hopes and hearts of America with them. To the media’s relief, the New Orleans Saints came through … decisively.
I am a sucker for “Rudy” movies, like the Hoosiers, the Anaheim Ducks, and David and Goliath.
The Saints, who had one of the worst defensive records in the league, would go up against the best multiple MVP quarterback in the world. How could they possibly win?
But they did. Just like in the fairy tales, the sheriff of Nottingham, Darth Vader and Katrina were vanquished.
The headlines read: “NEW ORLEANS WINS FOR THE MASSES!”
But I am reminded of the 2001 World Series, two months after 9/11. New York City had become a huge wound on our country. The New York Yankees took on the mantle of Avenger. The media became their cheerleaders. Winning the World Series would be the beginning of the healing. The ticker tape parade would show the world that New York City and America could not be put down. We would rise from the ashes.
Ironically, Phoenix did rise. Not from New York City but on the wings of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Which, of course, you would have known if you subscribed to the Tucson Citizen. Otherwise, it is just a sad story that Yankee fans and the rest of the world try to forget.
Thanks Indianapolis for being such good sports.