Gee, a little snow on the East Coast and the world as we know it goes topsy-turvy. Fox News and CNN begin their “news” days at 5 a.m. with special live reports. The NFL moves a Sunday game to Tuesday night. And the governor of New Jersey figures it’s a good time to get out of town on vacation. Hey, I’m going to Disney World!
Well, not really. But it’s hard for me to get my shorts in a knot over even 20 or so inches of snow these days. We’ve had that, or close to it, twice already here in Northeast Ohio this winter — and we survived to shovel another day.
And remember last winter? It snowed in DC in early January and the federal government and just about everything else Inside the Beltway shut down for the entire month. For Ron Paul and his Tea Party associates a wet dream come true. Oops. I digress.
So maybe Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell has a point.
Here’s from a WaPo article, “Ed Rendell, Pennsylvania Governor chastises nation of wusses“:
After calling the postponement [of the Eagles-Vikings game] “a joke” and saying that “Vince Lombardi would be spinning in his grave,” on Sunday, his [Rendell’s] anger was unabated Monday, when he made frequent use of the “w” word.
“My biggest beef is that this is part of what’s happened in this country,” Rendell said in an interview on 97.5 radio in Philly. “I think we’ve become wussies. … We’ve become a nation of wusses. The Chinese are kicking our butt in everything. If this was in China do you think the Chinese would have called off the game? People would have been marching down to the stadium, they would have walked and they would have been doing calculus on the way down.”
Wow. We’re screwed. Does anyone in the USA do calculus any more — or even know what it means?
Anyway, I have a hard time equating the postponement of a football game with the decline of America and our ability to compete globally. And as with most matters these days I’m most likely in the minority — but at least not completely alone.
Here’s from a NYT Op-Ed by Timothy Egan, “The Can’t Do Nation“:
Rendell’s comments in a radio interview, coming at a time when sloth is the seasonal mode and decline talk is a subtext of ragged economic blues, set off a lot of people.
The most articulate of scolds can warn about how far behind the rest of the world our students are falling, about the frightening implications of a three-fold rise in child obesity, about the importance of a work ethic coupled with American creativity — and the country is barely stirred.
But let someone suggest that a football game can’t be played in the snow, and you’ve got real trouble.
It’s bad enough that a winter storm can ruin a politician. Witness the hit to his reputation that Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey took for leaving his state to misery while he vacationed in Disney World. Or the painful sight of Mayor Michael Bloomberg getting sarcastic — “I regret everything in the world,” he snapped — in response to criticism.
Now, snow is weighing down a game that is already far too-burdened with larger implications. We don’t walk 10 miles to school in a blizzard anymore, but we do put on face paint and display bare torsos while watching appliance-sized men who make more in a week than most Americans earn in a year bash each other. It’s diverting, and — aside from a few atrocious losses by my hometown Seahawks, the Barney Fifes of football — mostly rewarding.
And his point:
Sure, the suits who run the league are killjoys for moving the Sunday night contest. Anyone who’s played pickup football in the snow knows the lasting thrill of catching a pass between snowflakes. And some of the game’s greatest contests — the Ice Bowl in Green Bay, the Snow Bowl in New England — would be nothing without the weather.
But a nation of wusses? Sorry, governor. Talk to the clerk in Queens who walked five miles in the snow to his job at Sears because his bus never came. Or the elderly people, shivering without power, forced to cut pills in half because they couldn’t get out and refill their life-saving prescriptions. Or the hundred or so commuters who endured a night of chill and fear when their subway train was stranded in the blizzard. “No panic, no yelling, just understanding,” one fellow sufferer said of the ordeal.
What the epic winter storm at year’s end showed was the overlooked and the routine: a nation of quiet heroes.
OK. But keep this in the mental queue.
The Super Bowl is set to be played outdoors in New York City in February 2014. (See NYT “Get Set to Do the Super Bowl Shovel.”
If that one gets postponed because of a little snow, then the world will be calling us wusses.