472: A Boy Named Her

When I was a kid, football was life. Every boys I knew had two hero’s; Brett Favre and Reggie White. Favre was the most sensational quarterback on the planet. White ate quarterbacks for lunch. Ironically enough, Reggie White was black.

Watching the lengthy woke sermons which were intertwined with this year’s Super Bowl, you might be surprised to find that my friend’s and I, growing up in pasty white rural Wisconsin in the 90s, had a hero who was black. Personally, I never gave it much thought. Reggie White was a badass, and that was good enough for me.

A few years later I moved into an apartment building in the Twin Cities that housed numerous Somali families. Like me, the kids in my building loved football. When they found out that I knew how to throw a ball they eagerly conscripted me into their games. We may not have had much in common, but we had football, and that was enough.

My experience is that if you end up talking about football in a job interview, you’ll probably get the job. It’s happened to me a couple times. I remember one interview in particular; the guy who was interviewing me asked some generic question about my background, and I mentioned that I was a from Wisconsin.

“Oh, are you a Packers fan?” He asked.

I responded that I most definitely was. A giant grin spread across his face. He had grown up in Ripon, and had grown up going to Packers games. We proceeded to have an animated discussion about the possibilities for the upcoming season.

What a way to meet your boss. I soon learned that he wasn’t the only avid Packers fan in the building. He was even the most avid. That distinction belonged to a shipping clerk named Her. Her was one of the many Hmong employees at our company. He had grown up in La Crosse Wisconsin, about forty miles from where I had grown up. Sometimes in his childhood an enthusiastic passion for the Green Bay Packers had been kindled which possibly bordered on an obsession.

He was up to the minute on all of the latest trades and developments, and often went out of the way to fill me in on breaking news regarding the Packers. I will never forget his enthusiasm, or the wild light in his eye as he once again confidently predicted that this was the year we were going to win it all.

There was a time when Monday mornings buzzed with animated retellings of yesterdays game. There was a time when football wasn’t just a sport, but an important social asset. Know a little bit about it, and be able to converse intelligently about the goings on of the NFL, and it could land you a steady job. Or you could wind up sitting in a booth at Buffalo Wild Wings with three Hmong men who are yelling at you for not drinking your beer fast enough.

Sadly, I think that time has passed. I’m pretty sure the decline started in 2016, when Colin Kaepernick famously kneeled during the playing of the national anthem to make a statement about racism. It’s not my place to criticize the sentiments which Kaepernick was expressing, but I do know the end outcome. Football suddenly became political. It ceased to be a safe subject. You couldn’t talk about football anymore without the risk of offending someone’s deeply held political beliefs.

More and more people just aren’t watching. Last weeks Super Bowl saw fewer viewers than any Super Bowl since 2006. From my perspective, sermons on social justice don’t actually do much to advance social justice, but football does. I miss the time when football could just be football, and regardless of the color of our skin, me, or a boy named Her, or a boy named Colin Kaepernick could be awed by the Green Bay Packers without worrying about politics.

Photo by Jean-Daniel Francoeur on Pexels.com

23 thoughts on “472: A Boy Named Her

  1. I think I lost interest in sport – a lot later in New Zealand than in America – when it became professional. People would get paid for playing a recreational sport. I lost all interest. I used to support the provincial (state) team and then they started paying out-of-state players to come and play. It was no longer “local” and worthy of support. I haven’t watched (or read about) a single sport since the 1980s. Let them suck eggs. I have seen Colin Kaepernick on the non-sports news. What a loser!

    • I’ve always wanted money for the things I do, so if someone wants to get paid for throwing a ball around I can’t really begrudge them that. Granted, some of these hundred million dollar plus contracts seem a bit obsessive. As to Kaepernick, I hear that in the current version of Madden you can have him on your team and he is far and away the best quarterback in the league. Science.

  2. Sadly it cuts deeper than political, and goes all the way to the bone of our culture. This is neomarxism working as intended, pushing us toward a soft-totalitarianism. Two parts Orwell mixed with three parts Huxley. We are being gently trained (by cancel culture) what to say (and how to say it) and what not to say, as a precursor to what to think and not think. An unholy alliance of leftist elites and woke big tech controls the media and is taking control of public discourse, and they won’t be content until all the old cultural sign posts have been destroyed, and they have total control of the thought and fabric of life. If you want to see where things are headed, just study the last century Chinese and Russian revolutions. The parallels are striking. The names have all been changed and the method has been modified, tailored to the intended victim, but the aim is the same and the psychology is identical. Growing up I never supposed I would live through the downfall of a culture, but here it is happening before my eyes. My consolation is that my hope does not lie in the betterment of a culture or a country, but rather rests upon the One who is bending all things, including this evil, to His good purposes, and who even now is calling the weary to come and rest in Him.

    • A couple months ago I read a book about someone who had escaped from a North Korean prison camp, and I thought “shit, this is where we’re heading.” You’re closer to right than I would like to admit. Personally I think we are heading towards a fuedalistic bifurcation of society, if we’re not already there.

  3. So you’re a Cheese Head?! I can’t be associated with you anymore. I’m sorry for your loss this season.

    With that being said, as I read through your story regarding your employment interview, I wondered about the people around me that I know. Most don’t follow football. If I was to bring it up at an interview, I would probably get dismissed. Not many people seem to care. Your second part of the post does explain a portion of it – many have stopped since it got political. Everything is thrown into that one bag nowadays.

  4. Being a Vikings fan? I root for any team playing against the Packers. However I respect Cheeseheads and their devotion, I also respect the talent and winning traditions of Green Bay. It’s a delightful experience- rivalries- imho – the attempt to influence thought and truth is futile ultimately- I just live my life being kind and loving towards all. There is still an American spirit that can’t be changed as much as I think “they” would like- the pendulum doth swing

    • That reminds me of a story about two Swedes who went to hell. The Devil, being the master of evil schemes that he is, set about making the afterlife as miserable as possible for them. He turned the thermostat up to 300 degrees, then sat down at his desk and cracked his knuckles as he waited eagerly for their screams of agony. To his surprise he heard laughter instead. The Devil burst out of his office, and bounded down the stairs into the pit of hell.

      “What’s going on down here?” He shouted angrily. “I turned up the heat so you would be especially miserable, but all you do is laugh.”

      “Well, you see,” the Swedes responded, “When we were alive we always wanted to go to Hawaii, where it’s warm. But we were too poor, and could never afford the trip. Now you’ve made it warmer here than it is even in Hawaii. It’s like the tropical vacation we never had.”

      The Devil stomped back up the stairs to his office, fuming. He walked over to the thermostat, and turned it to minus 180 degrees. “That oughta get them to shut up.” Said the Devil, as he sat down at his desk. He cracked his knuckles again, and waited to hear the screaming Swedes. To his surprise, the jovial noises from down below got even louder. The Swedes were laughing, and shouting with glee. The Devil was beside himself. He stormed down to the stairs once more.

      “First I turned the heat up to 300 degrees.” He fumed, “and you partied like you were having the time of your life. Then I turned it down to minus 180, and you liked it even better. What am I supposed to do with you?”

      “Haven’t you heard?” The Swedes replied, “the Vikings just won the Super Bowl.”

      • I’m not a fan of debating things online; a lot gets lost in translation. But in some resepct I thought I was agreeing with your comment that actions speak louder than words, and that’s why I thought Colin’s actions were so powerful; they brought to light issues that people either were not aware of, or didn’t want to talk about.

      • I’m too am not a fan of online debates. I am a fan of knowing why people disagree with me. Your first comment, implying a zero sum equation between social justice and enjoying football without political overtones, was in direct opposition to the thesis of what I wrote. However, you offered no support for your opposition. I guess that’s fine, but I’m confused as to how it leads to anything constructive.

  5. I have a blind friend She doesn’t know who is black, white or purple. She is also heavily into fantasy football and no one can beat her because on her radio she sees the players better than anyone. Love the post

    Laughing is fun Try It soon

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