Two minute warning or warming to or of Steve Almond Against Football

http://www.amazon.com/Against-Football-Fans-Reluctant-Manifesto-ebook/dp/B00IW4DOWM

This has 45 reviews on major web portal compared to 3 for the compilation I bought and mentioned above, with Namath and Red Smith and Dwight Clark the catch on cover, but 500 for Nate Jackson:

Steve Almond who lives in Boston has three kids, two brothers and was two years behind me at Gunn and the editor mantle of the Oracle apparently it appears does not like Football and is eloquent or elegant enough to stretch that thought or run under it like Cliff Branch from Snake Stabler in 1975 or like me running under a Billy Parker toss that glorious six seconds to last if not a lifetime then forty years — FORTY YEARS I SAY — my inner foghorn leghorn likewise rising out of its four-pint stance — for 177 pages and twenty three doll hairs from or for Melville House and Amy Sedaris too.

I spy the words “3.7 GPA” which is not referencing Ken Williards average yards per carry for the 4.9 in 1970.

I hope but am not counting on calling Jim Harbaugh a dick.

He was also known as “Scoop” his twin just Mike and also Dave or David big brother we also called, in a tip to Mel Brooks, in Mr. Murray’s Spanish class, Brad Elman and me, Professor Little All Man. Earlier he wrote about rock music. Maybe he is glossed herein and above, in previous 500,000 memes and moans.

Some joke about a woman before the baby-mom and a pun on statistics and sat-dick-sticks and “regression to mean”. Ok, but not very Nitsky or Nagurski. P. 98 “biggest fucking pussy…change your tampon you woman” this is not good for me, Steve, was it good for you?

And 1: pp 148 to 150 sustained thought about Pat Tillman that is promising, I hope to actually read it soon enough. I did not know Don Delillo had a book on football called End Zone listed in thanks.

Maybe stick to candy, kiddo. I am not baiting him. Ok, I will cut to the chase, the big opening number:

okay, references Harvard and Yale in the 1860s and banning of early versions of game which I have to admit does appeal to my inner snob of the six-figure private education club. Swede Oberlander call your ghost Dave Casper agent. I think David Almond started at Harvard and switched to Stanford. And Yes Ryan Fitzpatrick is making more of a dent in NFL than John Paye of Stanford did or does if you excuse the mixed metaphor. You would think a guy working at B.U. or what not would piss on Harvard, will have to skim for that. Nowinski, should be here. I think I traded briefly with Steve a minute ago. Jonathan Martin p. 115. Ok.

I have to admit that when I heard about Kwame the Stanford lineman who could play piano and was I think part West Indian (you can go West-East but not North-south, if you are jumping somehow from Bruce Hampton to hear as I am) there was a broadcast news bit I wanted to reach out and maybe Earthwise manage him, that being before he started beating up his partner, or you would think. Does Stanford have some kind of pipeline so to speak on gay black linemen?

Anyhow good luck, Steve Almond. I owe you a better two minutes, so to speak. I am not at bookstore, I am at Peets, across from a bookstore I knew or know but not in biblical or Wesleyan rapper sense even das butt.

cue GF: and this stretches out, see above, to 4 minutes which proves once again that Gary is twice the man I’ll ever be:

and 1:
two minutes later I realize partly due to this that I might as well and am more likely to by 5:30 tonight be sitting in the Old Pro of Palo Alto the former Ramona’s on Ramona and not the quonsut hut on Pepper watching Colts and Giants for no reason, with a Guinness and maybe if not a burger a chicken sandwich than going to Oakland Arena to watch Black Keys and Jake Bugg and certainly not sitting in the “promoters hold” or spooning spit out of Ralph Carney’s saxophone. Thank you, Donna Grider but you are on your own.

edit to add, weeks later:
One on one with John Paye, 1978 and 2014
I have an appointment to meet up with John Paye and his place of work, his gym in San Carlos, California tomorrow morning. Later that day, he leads the Menlo Prep school girls’ varsity basketball against rivals Menlo-Atherton of Menlo Park, Calif, in a six-part basketball extravaganza, at the El Camino Real gym. I may go to that as well, lord willing the creek don’t rise and my girlfriend finds something equally her to do. (She did sit with me at a Gunn girls basketball game when we first started dating, and we went with the Rothsteins to the Seqouia football jamboree in September of this year, Gunn was in).

I want to ask John a hypothetical: you are a former Stanford quarterback, who coaches girls high school hoops, how would you respond if Stanford calls and asks you to come back to the farm to coach football, head coach I mean, is that something you can rise to the challenge of, in the way that going from football to basketball each winter may have entailed a few weeks or sessions of getting your basketball legs back, relative to your football mindset and body, or is this, twenty years past your playing days too much water under the bridge, too far removed to switch back to football after years of being in basketball?

I won’t be disappointed if he can answer succinctly in 100 words and then shows me the door; he’s got a game that day (or three, if not six), he’s got a business to run, he’s got his own family, it’s holiday season, et cetera. But something tells me, or isn’t it pretty to think so — F. Scott Fitzgerald — that if I know John Paye — and I hardly know John Paye, I admit — that he will respond thoughtfully and teach me what I don’t know about this topic and the assumptions therein.

Part of the backstory is that when I was a rising Freshman hopeful to play frosh-soph hoops at Gunn — and excuse the fluid back and form between the cage and the gridiron — I for reference was a receiver for the 8th grade A team flag football at Terman, and played three season of hoops at Gunn — plus I was a sportswriter before becoming a blogger — and John Paye was at the Menlo Junior High as a prospective 8th grader, this is summer of 1978, both of us attended Dick DiBiaso’s Stanford basketball camp. John was already, even a grade disadvantaged the best player in the camp whereas I was, well, not the worst. Even so, I asked John to play one-on-one with me, during everyone else’s lunch break, and he said “yes”. The score was 20-16 winners; any closer it might have gone to overtime or win by 2 buckets.

And: a few minutes alter, I am at Starbucks on Laurel in San Carlos, a mile or so from Paye’s Place — John Paye rang me a few minutes ago to confirm my interview request and reported he is in LA-LA for the night to watch his former charge, a center for USC ladies hoops, play against Loyola-Marymount which coincidentally features the daughter of one of his Menlo football teammates. The screen froze for a minute and I thought I had lost this whole, even hidden, session and jumped up to see which computer-mesmer or North Korean enemy of James Teddy Franco was secretly controlling me. Just a ghost, which reminds me that I am parked — and excuse the digression, especially if you are here because you are a fan of either Steve Almond or John Paye — in front of SamTrans building which has an odd piece of public art, of a man and a woman and their two kids and you cannot tell if they are historical, mythological or realistic and a plaque that says in 1974 Ken Kidwell the banker paid for this so maybe it is him and his kin. Which made me utter the line: are those cop-killer bullets in your pocket or are you just happy to see us?

The game with John Paye versus yours truly Mark Weiss, at lunch hour at Maples Pavillion during a summer camp when I was 14 and he 13, won by he 20-16 I meant to say was “losers” meaning essentially we took turns on offense. Winners would mean, he would continue with the ball until I stopped him. That, plus he may not have been trying that hard. I also remember at the very start of camp Mike Bratz a Stanford player and therefore star of the coaching staff telling me that my shots all rolled in after friendly bounces and that when we moved from the outside courts to Maples I mightn’t me so lucky. Good eye for talent, he. But my point about John Paye is that he was an approachable and likable guy, at that age but reportedly carrying on thru his playing and probably coaching days, and I salute that. It is probably not true the Leo Durocher saying that nice guys finish last. Sometimes nice guys finish first. I also met Steve Young a couple times in passing so to speak in recent years and he seems like a nice guy. I will stop here on the off chance that John Paye is reading this. I presume if he names his gym Paye’s Place he banks on the goodwill established by he, his sister his parents and probably his kids and it probably does not skew things that I am publishing in advance our mutual schedule for Friday. Normally people like some privacy. And as Andy Grove, who I’ve met, says: only the paranoid survive.

I am curious about John Paye’s take on character, beyond he box scores.

And on a related topic, I am wondering about the Riekes Center open house.

To tie the heads and tails here, John Paye is a counter-argument to Steve Almond’s book.

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About markweiss86

Mark Weiss, founder of Plastic Alto blog, is a concert promoter and artist manager in Palo Alto, as Earthwise Productions, with background as journalist, advertising copywriter, book store returns desk, college radio producer, city council and commissions candidate, high school basketball player; he also sang in local choir, and fronts an Allen Ginsberg tribute Beat Hotel Rm 32
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