Years ago, Steve Rushin wrote a piece in SI about dreaming. He introduces us to several athletes and coaches who as youngsters, dreamed to achieve what their heroes had. He goes on:
These dreams may not sound like much to you, and I sometimes feel like Lily Tomlin, who said, "I always wanted to be somebody, but I should've been more specific." More often, though I realize that herein lies the central beauty of sports: Lifelong dreams are fulfilled every day.
Rushin describes the feeling I imagined while laying in bed staring at the ceiling after Marino threw a game-winning touchdown...right after I finished thinking about Gabrielle Reece.
"Try some more," said another great thinker, Willie Wonka, while urging the brats who toured his chocolate factory to sample the lickable wallpaper. "The snozzberries taste like snozzberries!"
"Snozzberries?!" replied Veruca Salt. "Whoever heard of a snozzberry?"
To which Willy Wonka said only, "We are the music-makers. And we are the dreamers of dreams."
Damn, that spoiled bitch really grinds my gears. Oh, well...off to the goose nest with you! Wonka was alluding to a 19th-century poet named Arthur O'Shaughnessy, who wrote:
We are the music-makers
And we are the dreamers of dreams
Wandering by lone sea-breakers
And sitting by desolate streams
World-losers and world-forsakers
On whom the pale moon gleams
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world forever, it seems
That brilliant Irish fucker! I'm not a poetry guy. Everyone who knows me realizes that. I'm more of a meat-and-potatoes, full-body-massage guy. I liked the piece so much, I cut it out and saved it. That was 7 years ago. I redicovered it while organizing one of my metric tons of momentos I aquired over the past decade. I can now say that it was a big influence on my choice to start this practical joke of a blog that you're reading.
Welcome to Magnificent Bastards! Here, you will read about the glorious achievements of athletes throughout history. That's the "magnificent" part. The "bastards" part addresses the less savory moments in our heroes' careers...the parts that they'd rather have us forget.
In the months to come, I will make a solid effort to bring you a consistent report of Magnificent Bastards: the good, the bad and the ugly. I welcome your comments and suggestions; when accompanied by generous flattery, of course.
In preparation for creating this blog, I asked a few friends to help me compile a listing of athletes that fit into both magnificent and bastard categories. This proved to be difficult and we soon gave up, realizing that Dan Marino was only a marginal bastard. His magnificence, however, remains unparalleled.
One Marino moment stands out in my mind as the singlemost ass-kicking touchdown in his career. When he beat the hated Jets with that fake spike pass, I became a sports fan. He became the music-maker; the mover and shaker. But even as Danny Boy's legend burns in my imagination like the fire of a thousand suns, I am forced to see my hero, this Magnificent Bastard, hocking NutriSystem with Larry the Cable Guy:
There is no God.