About Me

Pearl City, HI, United States

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Remembering '69

The General at Work in Super Bowl IV. (Photo Kansas City Star, 1970)

Copyright © 2009 by Ralph Couey

“20 seconds…19…18…the game is going to be over. Mike Livingston doesn’t want to play anymore, neither do the Chiefs. They’ve had enough. They want the football. They’re going to blow the clock out. THAT’S IT! CHIEFS ARE THE WORLD CHAMPIONS OF PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL!”

As historic moments go, it was a spine-tingler. Bill Grigsby, a monument of professional broadcasting in Mid-America, had the honor of counting down the waning seconds of Kansas City’s only Super Bowl victory. And as the seconds ticked away, Chiefs fans in bars, homes, parties, and those lucky enough to be in Tulane Stadium that day unleashed their joy in a tsunami of celebration.

Reflecting back on 1969, it’s amazing how much the game has changed. The offensive line that opened the holes for Garret, Holmes, McVea, and Hayes, enabling that quartet to amass over 2,000 yards of rushing, was considered one of the biggest in professional football. Yet today, they would only be the size of an average linebacker. Our quarterback, at 6-1 and 180 lbs, was considered average in size. Today, a skinny runt like that would likely get the tar beat out of him. Witness the fate of Brodie Croyle.

But despite the vast differences in size and speed between then and now, one thing has never changed.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Surviving Winter's Doldrums*

*Johnstown Tribune-Democrat, January 6, 2010
as "Helpful Hints for Beating Old Man Winter's Blahs"

Copyright © 2009 by Ralph Couey

“We are made to persist. That’s how we find out who we are.”
--Tobias Wolff

The holidays have passed. The lights, color, and giddy excitement are behind us, having joined the substantial collection within the memory vault. Life returns to that state of being we so flippantly describe as “normal.”

Now we face the deepest part of winter. January and February, described as one long 60-day month, is a stretch I’ve come to call “the long, dark tunnel.” The days are short, and the weather’s bad. After the light, color, beauty, and emotional highs of Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Years have faded, it is a time of unimaginative routine; of sheer mundane drudgery unbroken by celebration. Snow has lost its brief romance, and what was once magic and beauty now has us grimly reaching for a shovel. The days shuffle past like a bent old man. The restless energy that had kept us charging at a breakneck pace for two solid months has vanished. We feel drained, flat, devoid of interest.

The hardest moment is taking down the Christmas decorations. For weeks, our homes and lives were brightened by lights and elegant beauty. Now, with the tree down, the draping garlands and the Nativity boxed up and stored away, the house feels curiously empty, as if the movers had come, leaving nothing but blank walls and vacant floors.