There are periods during the year especially during the time when pro football is on its annual hiatus when sportswriters and columnists assigned to cover the sport often have to look under a rock or two or in a few dark corners, just to find a story that will attract and maintain the interest of the average football fanatic.
Every so often columns just jump into your lap, maybe not just exclusive to pro football in particular, but sports in general and how the average “Joe” feels about subjects related to the sports that may or not be just about first downs and interceptions.
From here on; I will be attempting to recall for you the conversation that I was privy to while in route to the Homestead Waterfront, just a tad outside of Pittsburgh. I was on the Waterfront shuttle with two forty-ish White males with their tool belts still in place. They both appeared to be dog tired after a long, hard work day.
Average “Joe” number one, or AJ1 asked average “Joe” number or AJ2 what plans he had for the weekend. “I am going to go in and get ready to go out for a little while;” AJ2 said, with a tired but broad smile stretching across sunburned face. “What about you?” AJ1 said, “my loot is sort of funny so I’m gonna stay in and watch Penguins and Steelers reruns. I don’t care how many times I watch the Steelers Super Bowl highlights, just like when I watch a good movie more than once, I always miss something; ya know what I mean?”
At that point AJ1 seemed to become a bit irritated with his work mate. “I love the Steelers as much as anybody’” he said. “But I refuse to pay ESPN, the NFL network or any other station to watch reruns. Hey, we won’t get paid next week for the week we just put in; so why should the players or the networks get paid for games that have already been played?”
A puzzled expression came across the face of AJ2. He appeared as if he had no response but finally a light clicked on somewhere. “I just like the game and I am not a politician or anything like that; so the money that they make well, I can’t control that.” “Oh, I know” AJ1 said, “but they find so many ways to make money off of us.” AJ2 now started to now get a bit emotionally involved. “Well if it was all about money, that didn’t stop Junior Seau from killing himself, did it?” At this point AJ1 seemed to be getting just a bit ticked off at his homeboy. “Hey that is why I follow high school football because those kids play with heart and because they love the game, not because of the money. Look at all of the money that Mike Wallace wants. He is an ungrateful young bas–rd! After all the Rooneys did for him, now he wants to break the freakin’ bank. These guys make too much money anyway just for catchin a ball.” At this point I thought to myself; what have the Rooneys done for Mike Wallace aside from paying him for a day’s work? Just like all of us average “Joes” want to be paid. But it’s not about my thoughts, right? Anyway, AJ2 came back a little passive but smart, “if you come over to my house we can pitch in on a case of brew get a sandwich ring and watch Pens highlights, plus the money that you are gonna spend for a couple of beers down the south side hell; we can buy a case of ‘Milwaukee’s Best.’”
I had to get in on the action because if I didn’t, I’m sure that I would have burst wide open. “Hey do you guys know what stop I get off to get to Office Depot?” (I have only been there in all honesty over 100 times.) AJ2 seemed to view this timely intrusion as the perfect opportunity to exit from the previous conversation. “Yeah, the bus is going to turn into the mall (huh?) from Ann Street. When he makes the right turn you will get to Giant Eagle. That will be the last stop before the bus leaves the “mall” going back to Pittsburgh.” I said thanks to him but at that point the former conversation seemed to have left him a little discombobulated because he answered my thanks with, “thank you.”
There are segments of society that have a “hate success” gene built into their DNA. But don’t hold them entirely at fault because for centuries the ruling class has dangled carrots of hope and possibility in front of their faces. As music legend George Duke once said, “the preacher’s on TV selling God today.” Look at the selling of the death of Trayvon Martin.
The only thing that most of the talking heads say that means anything to them is; “we’ll be right back after this commercial break.” Why aren’t the CNN trucks parked outside of the Mon-View Heights housing project where two young African-Americans recently lost their lives in a senseless “gun battle.” Where are “the great reverends” Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson when you need them? Young Black men better get it together. Rest in peace better start to mean; get a good night’s sleep to get ready for work. Bling-bling better mean an engagement ring for baby’s mama, peace.
(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-583-6741.)