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OK, I am at the point where I am willing to turn in my Man card, give up my claim to sports fanatic status, and retreat to a Walden Pond and read poetry.

Why not? Football isn't what it used to be, any more than baseball is baseball or music is music – or an election means anything.

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Where have you gone, Johnny and Raymond? Wherefore art thou, Artie? Bubba, come back.

Not you, Robin Frazier – Bubba.

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Remember when Unitas would flick a sideline pass and Raymond Berry would go up for it, twist like a snake up a tree, reach like a boarding house regular and come down with the ball with his toes just inside the line; first and 10?

That was a dance. That was art, a ballet, a performance as graceful and skilled as that Russian fella, Rudolph Nureyev, and yet as manly as Gino Marchetti taking out half the opposing line to make it possible.

I don't remember Unitas or Berry ever celebrating anything, unless it was Ameche's the play that ended the game in '58 against the Giants. You were supposed to throw the pass just where only your guy could catch it, and your guy was supposed to, well, catch the thing. It was one play; it was what football players did. You waited to celebrate off the field, after the game.

If you watch a game today, every play ends with some emotional display. Chest beating, finger-pointing, in-your-face taunting, and The Dance. They dance over everything.

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"I catch the ball and I wiggle my butt; I do a little dance and I do a little strut."

What is this, Glee in Spandex?

Are these football players or cheerleader wannabes?

Put the ladies out there in helmets and pads – not short shorts and halter tops, please -- and let them play some real football.

For me, the best play in football is what I call the Comeuppance. The dude with all the hair makes the run for the end zone, and starts strutting 20 yards short and gets nailed before he crosses the goal line. Love it.

Or better yet, he drops it, and the other team recovers.

Which brings me to a quick review of a previous column, several weeks back, when I predicted that the replacement to the Maryland Senate seat created by the ascension of Carroll County's Joe Getty to the staff of Gov. Larry Hogan would result in a boondoggle? That means an attempt to deceive.

As expected, the local Republican Central Committee did a quarterback sneak with 12 men and a couple of women on the field and nominated three-time loser Robin Frazier to the job. The voters don't want her holding public office, but the back room gang does, so there it is.

Getty is a pal and most certainly blessed this, so remember that he's also advising Hogan now.

The boys in the back room dropped the ball on this one, and people are ticked; I don't know for sure which issue put more mail in my in box: This political charade or the ringing attaboy from all those who agree that loud vocal music in every public place is out of control and a detriment to the peace of the village.

People – even Republicans – are so upset with this blatant end run with Frazier that they announced something like 800 signatures on a petition to ask Hogan to block it in the first day after the news broke.

One reader asked me, "What was the GOP Central Committee thinking?"

Answer: They weren't thinking. They were doing what they do best – plotting, scheming, lurking, strategizing in their little personal game of King of the Hill.

It's a dirtier game that football, which is probably why they prefer to play it in secret.

The fumble may cost them: Sen. Larry Haines had a lock on the Senate job for years while Getty waited for his turn for a state pension. Now they hope to get some goodies for Frazier, who would be in position to repay favors, of course.

But what makes them think she will win the next election? She's never won back to back, when the voters had a say. It could cost the Republicans.

The real question is, what will it cost Hogan, or Getty, if she is appointed?

Dean Minnich writes from Westminster. His column appears on Thursdays. Email him at dminnichwestm@aol.com.

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