June 15, 2006

... And the Agony of Being Thrown Into a Windshield Head First

RECENTLY, A DEAR friend of mine wrote and mentioned he had a good laugh at my recent nasty remark directed at Peyton Manning, the Indianapolis Colts quarterback.

As a New England Patriots fan, my friend too has no love for Peyton Manning, whom all can agree is a pathetic crybaby sissy who can't deal with an aggressive defense. Still, as a Patriots fan, my friend could not leave things at that. Oh no. At the close of his letter, my friend politely wrote, "Still waiting to see your post about idiot QBs who ride motorcycles without helmets."

Sadly, it has taken me a while to properly compose my thoughts on this week's incident involving Ben Roethlisberger, the starting quarterback of the five-time Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers. For those unaware, Roethlisberger suffered a broken jaw and nose after he ran his motorcycle into a car. As my friend noted, Roethlisberger was not wearing a helmet. However, I can assure readers that I went through the same emotions as the rest of Steelers Nation upon hearing the news: namely, fear and nausea.

I first heard the news at work, where due to circumstances beyond my control, I am surrounded by New England Patriots fans. Most were sympathetic to my plight, or at least kind enough not to openly mock my suffering. However, there were those who poked a little fun at Pittsburgh's expense. ("Hey, Ben! What's a nose and jaw between two buns? A Roethlisberger!")

Ha, ha! I thought. Then I realized this particular colleague was not even a Patriots fan, but rather a fan of the Green Bay Packers, who last won a Super Bowl in 1996 and will not win one again until 2048, when their quarterback, Brett Favre, finally decides to retire. Sadly, I could not come up with this witty comeback when the joke was first delivered, but hey. It works now.

But anyway. Certainly, the news of Mr Roethlisberger's injury came as a severe blow to my psyche, and I have to admit it was the first time in a long time I felt really crushed about a sports incident.

You see, Roethlisberger is one of about three professional sports figures in whom I have placed an actual emotional investment -- the others being Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward and Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon. So to hear that Roethlisberger was hurt was devastating -- particularly as it seemed, at first, to put in jeopardy the chances of winning a sixth Super Bowl victory.

It also came during a particularly bad sports week here at The Rant. In the World Cup, the Czechs kicked America's collective ass on the soccer pitch in a game that can be called embarrassing at best. Then, the Germans -- whom I was rooting against -- went around winning everything. So did the English, which was also annoying. As if that wasn't enough, barring direct intervention from St. Sebastian -- and perhaps even Our Lady of Victory herself -- the Italians are going to crush us like a bug on Saturday.

But things were not only going bad soccer-wise. This week, the Red Sox have been busy dropping the ball over in Minnesota. The trouble, you see, is that the Red Sox have a weak bullpen, aside from Papelbon and Timlin. So here we are in extra innings on Tuesday -- the 12th inning, to be precise -- and the Red Sox are set to win if they can just hold off the Twins. However, it was that point the Red Sox decided to send in Julian Tavarez. I submit that everyone in Red Sox Nation knew the game was irretrievably lost at that point. What we didn't know was that Tavarez would lose it the worst way possible -- with a grand slam.

So all in all, it's been a crappy week sportswise -- the incident with Roethlisberger is just, I don't know, an additional steaming pile of crap on top of everything else. The good news, though, is that Roethlisberger is now out of the hospital and will hopefully have a speedy recovery. In the meantime, we've always Charlie Batch -- who was once a former starter himself -- to rely on. As Pittsburgh fans know all too well, it could be so, so, so very much worse.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at June 15, 2006 09:08 PM | TrackBack
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