A Punter, a Pineapple and a Penguin


As I write this I am humming PIL’s Rise:

I could be wrong. I could be right. I could be wrong. I could be wrong, I could be right, I could be black, I could be white, I could be right, I could be wrong, I could be white, I could be black. Your time has come, your second skin. You climb so high and gain so low. Walk through the valley. The written word is a lie.

A catchy tune that seems to linger no matter how badly you might want to forget it. Mind you it is not as venomous as Rebecca Black’s Friday but it none-the-less has that similar staying power. What distorts both of those songs is the person behind them. John Lydon and the aforementioned Black can be seen as, respectfully, offensive and sympathetic. John for his overall persona and Rebecca for how the powers handled her. Neither are absolute claims, just a possible perspective.

Jacksonville finds itself with a character who too can be seen as those two adjectives. And you know full well the fans, media and opponents will remind all those who can hear or read of just where he falls. As soon as the pick was made you could hear millions of minds working to come up with the most entertaining or abusive comment. Others tried their best to frame the pick in the best of possible lights. That in turn further fueled the critics.

It was a wildfire. Or a plague. Or direct meteor hit.

I for one decided to “drink the kool-aid” as soon as I heard of the pick. It is far too easy to criticize. The challenge would be in trying to understand what Gene Smith was thinking. Thanks to the many who felt the need to insult those trying to paint the best possible picture it made me even more committed to this task. Because nothing recharges the batteries more than a pompous ass who holds onto absolute claims. As I was told years ago, if you are not sympathetic to the counter argument do not bother getting into the debate.

The trial was a hard one and I felt the role of Sisyphus with Bryan Anger as my boulder. From the semantic debate over what a “starter” actually is to quantifying value, all opinions were ingested, absorbed and then excreted based on need and soundness. The starting roster is the starting roster. Do not insult me with the gradation of position. If you start you start. That one was petty. But the math was hard to ignore. While tradition only means so much, failing to consider how the game is played and how a role player can equal a starter based on the amount of playing time felt like the proverbial nail in the coffin.

Sorry Gene, I just do not get it but know full well that I tried. Frankly, NFL community, I do not care. Heresy, you say? Sure, call me a heretic. Would not be the first time, though possibly so within a football context. So I get the potential impact of missing on depth at a need spot. And no I do not buy that a LB or DE could not possibly have been rated higher than a punter. But it is over. Whether I like it or not is meaningless. We have all said our piece and the logical thing to do would be to move on to more important topics. What are the depth concerns? Is there a UDFA that could be an impact player? How will the players respond to the new staff? Is it really worth letting the pick ruin your enjoyment of the season?

At some point you accept the world that you cannot change and simply enjoy, hoping for the best. As Camus said:

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

Kudos to you, critics, if you get it right: wasted pick. Flowers and champagne to the best argument as to why Gene is crazy and should be ridiculed, then fired. As stated, it is easy to pan the pick. And apparently impossible to justify it. So I’ll take my seat in the theater and watch the performers. Bless you, future, for you will make idiots or geniuses of we miserable humans.

Consider this. While appearing gruff and inedible from the outside, the pineapple is a sweet treat. Yet if consumed in bulk it can burn the corners of the mouth. The acid, you know. Still I am not deterred from consuming the tropical fruit whenever possible.In fact I have learned to see the beauty in the outward quality of the pineapple. If that were not the case, why would I let one part of the whole taint the experience. So too is our friend the penguin a tough pill. A bird that does not fly and that also swims? Waste of species or waste of language? Maybe both, but we still find them endearing and they never cease to entertain us with their walk or general mannerisms.

Do I need to understand the nature of this creation or can it simply be and we will coexist without need of definitive clarity of contradiction? For me, there is too much to like about this team to get distracted with one puzzle piece that belongs in another box. And I refuse to lose myself in trying to understand the why. Besides that it is really living in the negative and that seems to inherently contradict the fact that football is entertainment.

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