My first memory of the Washington Redskins remains fairly vivid. I was 5 or 6 and discovered them on TV one Sunday afternoon soon after returning to the States from overseas. Catching up on exposure to American football, something clicked that day. Of that much, I’m sure.
Football was clearly emerging as the sport to which I was most drawn — the colors, the pageantry, the clash of warriors… Thanks to my folks, I was tried-and-true Razorback already — the Hogs represented my homeland and thus had my heart and soul, and that would never change — but those beautiful burgundy and gold unis ensured that the ’Skins forever would be my pro team. (Plus, I always rooted for the real “home” team in Westerns.)
That day, George Allen’s “Over the Hill Gang” was hosting the emerging Evil Empire (Dallas) at RFK Stadium. We’d just returned from the Philippines, where my dad had served a tour as a flight surgeon over Vietnam. And I was soaking in all the Americana I could, the NFL on Sunday afternoons a big part of it. For those who go back that far, Billy Kilmer had just taken over from the legend Sonny Jurgensen at QB (the “passing of the mantle” probably involving a bottle or four) and other prominent ’Skins of the day included Charley Taylor, Mike Bass, Chris Hanburger and of course, the indestructible Larry Brown…
One of the league’s under-the-radar all-time greats, Brown was beaten down and bruised by the Dallas D that day. Not much used to fall and winter just yet, I remember studying the steel gray setting of RFK and actually feeling the cold seeping through the broadcast. But No. 43 kept going, undaunted, and the ’Skins pulled out a close win on the way to an NFC East title and Super Bowl berth.
By now, some of you may be in the market for a point. Not sure there is one, other than the lamentations of an emerging old fogey bowled over by waves of change. The Redskins are no more. I’ve never heard the term “Redskins” used in any context other than in reference to the pro football team, but I suppose that’s not the point. These days, change comes quickly, and you’d better adapt on a dime or be prepared to suffer the consequences.
Good luck to the Washington football team this season, however it’s played out. I’ve got almost half a century of memories to enjoy (the real team of the ’80s wore burgundy and gold, people) and am grateful for that. But the team in D.C., the NFL itself (defense being legislated into oblivion), well, it just no longer clicks for me.
Abbie Hoffman’s not my cup of tea, but the ’60s “revolutionary” is credited with a great quote that’s indirectly about lists. “The idea that media is there to educate us, or to inform us, is ridiculous because that’s about 10th or 11th on their list.”
Ouch. Truth hurts? Then, there’s this nugget from Mike Leach, the Pirate of Pullman, er, Stark-Vegas: “As a head coach, you’re on two lists. You’re the guy that might get fired, or you’re the guy who might go somewhere.”
Lists are in the air yet again here at Arkansas Money & Politics. This month’s is an especially good one. AMP readers nominated their favorite “Champions of Health Care” in 14 categories, and we present them inside. These folks represent some of our real heroes. Yes, I can idolize an athlete with the best of ’em. (Still get starstruck around Razorback players and coaches.) But when you get right down to it, who impacts their world more, in a better way? A self-obsessed, multi-millionaire pro athlete or the PA doing the important grunt work at a community hospital?
This month’s AMP introduces a new standing feature, Discovery Economics from the Arkansas Research Alliance. Through it, we hope to introduce readers to the impressive scientists and researchers at Arkansas universities whose work impacts the state economy in positive ways. Starting off this series is Dr. Morten Jensen of the University of Arkansas.
As always, please share your comments, questions and concerns. Let me know where we can be better. I’m always open at [email protected].
— Mark Carter