Vikings' Brett Favre limps into Redskins game
Sunday, November 28, 2010; 1:00 AM
As the go-long legend of Kiln, Miss., limps into FedEx Field this holiday weekend, all mortal and no myth with that dysfunctional Minnesota family in tow, I'm still grappling with how and why Brett let us down.
If this is how his career depressingly ends, we all would have been better off with Brett Favre dropping back in a pair of Wranglers, the scruffy man in white cotton and denim, frozen in celluloid.
He could have just kept motioning for us to go further downfield, till we either saw the revolving laces in that spiraling football over our left shoulder or the Ford pickup parked behind the makeshift goal line after the flatbed farm truck leveled us.
I suppose I should explain "us."
We're the millions of 40-ish or just-plain-old-and-crotchety Americans who believed we were once bona fide athletes, until someone at the high school or small-college level told us to do something else for a living.
We grew up, still enraptured by the games we were good at as children, and joined intramural leagues at the big colleges who wouldn't give us athletic scholarships.
We became weekend warriors and Turkey Bowl MVPs of our neighborhoods, designing brilliantly choreographed plays on our palms because we knew the "button hook" to be timeless, as useful at 10 as it is at 46.
Some of us won three-on-three trophies at Hoop-it-Up tournaments or used marathons to donate our ligaments and cartilage. We didn't care that we finished two or three or four hours behind the winners from Kenya or Ethiopia, most of whom were on layovers in Zimbabwe when we crossed the finish line; we were just happy to compete, to show we, too, still have an incredible human capacity for physical suffering.
Like, Brett at 39 years old. Or 40. Or, we hoped, 41.
See, he was our guy, the way Michael Jordan was our guy at first, when he came back at 40-something years old and pinned Ron Mercer's ball against the glass backboard.
Brett was our guy the way George Foreman was our guy when he knocked out Michael Moorer more than 20 years after Muhammad Ali had seized the heavyweight title from him. Brett was our guy the way Jimmy Connors was when he won a five-setter at the U.S. Open at 39, the way double-clutching like Kirk Gibson was as he hobbled around the bases in the 1988 World Series.
Something about an old head getting it done against the kids made us believe again, no?