Monday, January 17, 2011

The Art of Misbehaving
The Jet's win over the Patriots this evening reminded me of a point of conflict embedded in human nature. We battle against bad behavior, but sometimes we can't help smirking when the bad boys triumph.

Prior to the game, the Jets, led by irrepressible coach Rex Ryan, got into the faces of the New England Patriots, trashed-talking about their ability to conquer the  golden boys of winter. Fans and press alike tsk-tsked the team's antics as bad form, unseemly, and guaranteed to augur a humiliating defeat. For good measure, the Patriots stoically disciplined their own Wes Welker for similar poor conduct, sending a clear message that they would not tolerate such unsportsmanlike behavior.

I recall when my hometown Eagles taunted the Patriots before the Superbowl. They were also roundly criticized, but, unlike Ryan, they bowed to that criticism, conceding that trash-talk had no place within a civilized game like football. Maybe there was also a bit of fear that the Eagles' bravado would rile an already worthy opponent, inflaming it into an unstoppable force.  The Eagles lost, but I always wondered if they would have stood a better chance had they reared up and claimed their right to talk smack in a game that is roundly recognized as a war simulation.

Because, the Jets stood way up on their hind legs, got in the faces of their opponent, backed each other up in the face of disapproval, and won. They embraced their bravado and made it a necessary ingredient to their victory.

Sure, their is a bright line between acting up and criminal offenses, because there's a difference between conduct that annoys (excessive end-zone celebrations anyone?) and conduct that harms (helmet-to-helmet - ugh!). But, maybe we need to test the limits more often in this free society of ours. Maybe we need to question more regulations and tenets and decrees. Maybe we need to toss off the sheep's clothing that swaddles us. Maybe, in a society increasingly weighed down by rules of conduct for which no one can remember the genesis, what we need is a little more misbehavin'.

1 comment:

Lori Skoog said...

All of my grandkids were lovin' the Jets.