OLD SCHOOL WINS
Old school sportswriters, before modern media, often wrote with the wisdom of sages and the language of poets. Modern America has a couple of contemporary tableau that are living personifications of traditional vs brash modern.
The presidential sweepstakes offers contrast. The Democratic debates have been deep on substance, policy and agendas. Despite what a voter may think of the Clinton or Sanders philosophy, as a viewer you are treated to thoughtful articulation. The Republican debates have been "slice and dice" sessions with candidates attacking each other, often on less than substantial matters. Bombast and bravado have been the headlines, maybe inevitable when three of the leading candidates are Trump, Carson and Cruz, outsiders at best. Trump and Carson have no political experience and Cruz is detested by his own colleagues in the Senate and in the GOP. To this blogger's point of view, Ohio's Kasich has taken the traditional route and also the high ground. Florida's Bush has tried to play it that way, with questionable affect. In demeanor only, those two Governors have shown the class and capacity to be a President. They have shown intelligence.
Maybe the biggest window came in the biggest American party-the secular spectacular. As the nation nurses Super Bowl hangover, the 50th edition wrote a legacy headline-Peyton Manning, supported by the earnest hard work of a smashing defensive unit rides off into the sun set in one of American sport's greatest fairy tale endings. Probably the hardest working/studying if not the most intelligent quarterback ever ends an all time record setting career with the biggest victory in the sport. Experts are quick to list Manning as one of the best 5 players ever. For those of us who know, support or cheer Manning, this is a glory moment.
An Indianapolis sportswriter opined last week how the home of the Colts, where Manning led the team to a Superbowl, was for Super Sunday, a suburb of Denver. People love Manning, almost everywhere, and there is good reason.
His brilliance at reading defense, and his physical skills will indeed be legend in the game. But there is more about Peyton and the run up coverage about him and his challenger quarterback Cam Newton is a classic example. Newton is an extraordinary athlete. He is handsome, powerful, charismatic and in his own words representative of the new kind of super athlete who is taking over the game. Like many in modern America, Newton struggles with proper grammar, but he is still an articulate young man and personifies the kind of brashness and pride that is so rampant today. He is a football version of Donald Trump, though with more measurable skills. Peyton is old school.
Manning is and has always been, humble and quick to give praise to his teammates, coaches and others. He told the pregame show he simply wanted to be remembered as a guy who was liked by his teammates and remembered for being a good team player. No doubt, ever. He's the oldest Quarterback to play in the Superbowl, so he is old school, but there is something enduring about humility in a game of millionaires, swagger and bling. Something rewarding too about a team that can win by defense--the hard, hard, agonizing work of grinding away. It is telling that Manning, who earlier in his career could run and could sail passes with the precision of a laser, but as a hurt, hobbled and aching old veteran could lead an offense and willingly cede the gridiron stage to the defense to let them control the pace of a game.
Modern America likes flash and sizzle and selfies, the sort of thrill that an offensive game provides. Peyton used to be that way, as Cam Newton is now. But traditional ways require sacrifice, hard work and doing what it takes, even in the age of selfies and touchdown dances. Selflessness wins over selfies.
Had Peyton and the Broncos lost, you know he would have faced the media, answered their inquires, no matter how much he hurt. Cam Newton says he is a great fan of the game, and I don't doubt that. But I hope he is also a student. His post game behavior and his pre game "superman" swagger show that as good as he is, as promising as his future there are some old school lessons he should learn.
Peyton Manning did it by hard work, very hard work, discipline and intelligence. Defensive hard work pays dividends. America should be paying attention.
See you down the trail.