When I wrote my column on the football strike (Oct. 17) the negotiations were in progress, the cutoff date was set for Oct. 25-26 and everyone hoped for a quick settlement. I disagreed. I said the negotiations would fail, that the NFL management had the strength to outlast the players, that the charts of Jack Donlan, NFL management representative, and of Ed Garvey, the NFL Players Union representative, were totally incompatible, and that as long as those two men were the principal negotiators, any negotiation would turn into confrontation, resulting in the loss of the professional football season.
Since then, the cutoff date has become "open-ended," and has been postponed from week to week as the negotiations failed repeatedly.
What went wrong? Was this strike with its sad ending really written in the stars? Only to the extent that the astrological charts of Ed Garvey and Jack Donlan delineated their divergent personalities and their totally alien methods. The planetary patterns in the charts of those two men make them see themselves, the world and realityin totally different ways. Their approach and handling of problems are also different, and since all of those differences are irreconciliable, they ultimately lead to a complete parting of the ways.
Donlan's chart indicates a strong and well-integrated individual. His mind is excellent, both intuitive and pragmatic. He does not leave anything to chance. He is affable and pleasant. He also is flexible as well as resilient.
He approaches all problems calmly, deliberatedly, detachedly and dispassionately. In a methodical way he tries to learn all the data pertaining to a problem, and to investigate all the parameters. He is painstaking in his research, and literally "does not leave a stone unturned." He has a facility for not only seeing the entire picture, but also for grasping the details. He assesses any problem against short-term solutions, as well as long-range consequences.
Since his ego is strong, he has no need to bluff or to be boisterous or threatening. He is also not a man who can be broken, conquered, or vanquished. Those words are not in his vocabulary. His world is not populated by winners and losers, and because his self-image is good he does not worry about losing face. He sees life as the art of the feasible and practical and he always strives to attain balanced solutions.
Enter Ed Garvey, whose chart portrays a totally different world from that of Donlan's. Garvey's chart is not well-integrated, and the preponderance of planets in the first three signs of the Zodiac (Aries, Taurus, Gemini) tends to make Garvey egocentric. His afflicted Aries planets augment that tendency. His overoptimism depends too much on his luck.
His mind is quick, perceptive, facile but he is unwilling to probe anything in depth. His mind dashes hither and thither, is undisciplined, does and does not want to be bothered with details or long-term consequences. The future and the past are "fuddy-duddy" concepts. Such a Mercury thinks only in terms of the present, the immediate present at that. His ideas are enthusiastically conceived and hastily executed, often half-baked because he either forgot or overlooked some important detail.
His world is the world of absolutes, of black and white, good and bad, right and wrong, winners or losers. There is no middle ground. In such a world, people separate only into friends or enemies, with the latter to be conquered and brought to their knees. In such a world, his friends have to be totally loyal; a slightest difference in opinion transforms them into enemies. Since the self-image is over-optimistic but weak, everything that happens is seen in personal terms of losing face.
Therefore, any problem in life becomes an enemy to be conquered, and the victory has to be total victory. According to the chart, he approaches problems with fierce frontal attacks, choosing a single area he thinks is vulnerable. Heavy artillery is brought in immediately. But if that first frontal attack (and this happens frequently) is lost, he is lost because in the world of absolutes there is no place for retreat, regrouping, or even for consolidating gains.
And thus a man with the chart of Ed Garvey is incapable of being a successful negotiator because negotiations, by definition, presume that two people will search for some middle ground. For Garvey there is no middle ground.
The truth is that Garvey, buoyed by the resolve of the players, entered the negotiations aiming at, and being sure of, total victory -- the strike was going to bring management to its knees. He banked it all on one single presumption: that management will not want to lose any money, and would cave in. He still cannot believe that it will not happen, and exhorts his players to hold ranks, and wait for Godot. All that has been gained, and could have been gained, is being lost because to Garvey a partial gain is not a victory, but a loss and total defeat.
No one summarized the sad story of the football strike better than Dave Kindred of The Washington Post, who wrote in his column of Nov. 9: "Garvey's foolish plan, etched in stone . . . turned out to be written in the wind . . . Now the strike seems only an exercise in bizarre egocentricity . . . "