Before 1987 is one minute older, let's pause and resolve that the shame of 1986 will never happen again. That we shall not again stand helplessly by and allow a great American institution to be so threatened by the cottage-cheese mentality pervasive in society. Is Donahuemanology rampant in the land? Is nothing sacred? Let the bleeding hearts trash all the arms sales and rock 'n' roll lyrics they want, but, hey, stay away from violence in sports.
What is the big deal anyway? Since when is pro football, our national blast-time, not supposed to be a piercing, splitting, combative, ruinous, destructive, pain-producing force and joy in our everyday lives? We give 8'8", 535-pound, healthy, growing children millions of dollars worth of pads and steroids and endorsements with which to run at and smash into one another and then we expect Hansel and Gretel?
Is somebody telling us that we don't save up all that hard-earned cash and rampage over to the domed shrine every Sunday to see some absolute head-cracking, bone-crunching primeval frenzy? That we don't souse up, hunker down and thoroughly enjoy watching Greg (Our Town) Townsend viciously stomp on a guy's head when the guy's helmet isn't on? Or Otis (My Man) Wilson whip a forearm shiver into a guy's jaw (A concussion? Is that all My Man dished out?), or Charles (Too Mean) Martin sneak up from behind and unload a half-gainer-from-the-pike-position-body-slam on one of those loudmouthed, advertising-shill, got-all-he-deserved quarterbacks?
Penalized? Suspended? Too Mean should be a community hero by now. A few more blatant attacks like that, and he should have his own network TV series. And Too Mean's hit-list towel? Great stuff! Everybody knows NFL teams reward their bell-ringing assassins for keelhauling the opposition signal caller out of his mind, preferably into the hospital. Former Bear Doug Plank said he played on teams where a "big hit...might win a television set or toolbox or a trip to downtown Chicago. It was usually the blind-side hit that knocked the guy into next week."
January 5, 1987
So let's get real. Violenceologists haven't been so inspired since one of those old jugular-hunting Raiders wore a skull and crossbones insignia; since Robert Brazile was nailing victims as "Doctor Doom" (Catchy, don't you agree? You could dance to it); since...since...Dick Butkus. Yeah, that's the ticket.
Hasn't it been head-slapped into our brains since time immemorial that sports are just a mirror of society? So what's wrong with Ralph Sampson punching out the lights of that revolting little wimp, Jerry Sichting? Stick probably thought Sichting was Danny Ainge anyway—another revolting little wimp whom I defy anyone to say they don't go to Celtic games to see get beat up. Ainge is so naturally cruisin' for a bruisin' that Tree Rollins, a true hero, once took a bite out of his finger.
Nothing is wrong with this, of course. Come clean. Would you rather see Mike Schmidt hit a home run or Pascual Perez initiate a beanball war? Oh really? Sure, and you're the same auto racing fanatics who spend 19 days of May in the sweat bath of terrific suburban Indianapolis admiring Nomex-suited people no human eye can even see—you sure those aren't robots in those deathtraps?—throw a beautiful downshift.
Let's be serious and admit it. We're looking for the wheels to go over the wall. We're waiting for the Blackhawks and the Bruins to take off the gloves and begin socking the "eh's" out of each other. Preferably wade into the stands and molest a few cops, too. We're desperately hoping that the next time John McEnroe and Ivan Lendl scream at each other, they won't meekly appeal to the chair but instead say something like..."You want some of me?"...and start duking it out right on Centre Court. We're just praying we're not dealing bridge at the country club the night Mike Tyson rearranges one of his no-talent palooka dance partners into a vegetable. What a guy, Tyson! Once raised pigeons. Now reduces people to pulp. The American Dream. And don't forget Mitch (Blood) Green either; wasn't it Blood who just recently threatened to break the neck of Don King? Hair today, gone tomorrow? Talk about a sport after my own heart.
So raise your hands and be counted. Don't fade into the woodwork and pretend white wine, quiche and some pantywaist named Bob Tway are fine and dandy. We knew golf reached its zenith this year when Greg Norman, a real man, challenged those drunks in the gallery at the U.S. Open. Forget the Bear. Hark, the Shark. Heckle over a putt, he'll kick your butt. And Norman's from Crocodile Dundeeland, a real country, too. In Australia nobody apologizes for appreciating a little tumultuous savagery. Down Under, they throw dwarfs, don't they?