Golf Digress

Physically cultured commentary on Sport and Wellness

“No raucous invasion of a Nation’s sadness at home.”

Business "as usual" in the NFL. Bears and Giants at Wrigley Field, Dec. 29, 1963.

Business “as usual” in the NFL. Bears and Giants at Wrigley Field, Dec. 29, 1963.

Shirley Povich was one of those scribes who took exception to the NFL playing two days later, on the Sunday following the Kennedy assassination. At half-time on Monday night, I heard University of Phoenix shill Jim Gray mention that the games were well-attended. It sent me to Povich’s withering criticism in the Washington Post of November 26, 1963, one of his finest columns, laid out with the deft, dispassionate and unerring rationale of a prosecutor:

Rozelle, in his decision to go on with the shows, said he was taking comfort in tradition. “The tradition in sports for all is to perform at times of great personal tragedy.”

He said there has been indeed a precedent for that, but mostly it has been in cases of grieving individuals, not as a league practice.

Harvard and Yale, with a tradition that makes a mockery of the ender roots of Rozelle’s league, refute him bluntly, if not by design. For the first time 88 years they suspended Harvard vs. Yale, unaffected by any feeling that the show must go on. That Harvard was the alma mater of President Kennedy may not have been a deciding factor in this tribute to him. Almost all of the other major games of the Nation were also canceled or postponed.

True, there were no telecasts of the NFL games on Sunday, no raucous invasion of a Nation’s sadness at home. But this was the decision of the networks, not of the league. Theirs was the taste to proclaim that this was no day for football carnival.

Even in Las Vegas, the new bastion of show business, there was no official sentiment that the show must go on. On Monday’s day of national mourning, all productions and gambling casinos, were ordered closed. Unlike business as usual in the NFL.


Just in time: holiday travel “ice breakers”

"Can we switch seats?"

“Would you mind switching seats?”

From the Bureau of Travel Statistics:

“During the 6-day Thanksgiving travel period, the number of long-distance trips (to and from a ­destination 50 miles or more away) increases by 54 percent, and during the Christmas/New Year’s Holiday period the number rises by 23 percent, compared to the average number for the remainder of the year.”


“AAA, based in Florida, said its Holiday Travel Forecast projects 43.4 million U.S. residents will travel at least 50 miles from home for Thanksgiving.”

 Weather Channel:

“If you are traveling this weekend, Winter Storm Boreas will bring snow and ice to parts of the Southwest and the Southern Plains. Some of this wintry weather may spread as far east as Dallas/Ft. Worth by Sunday.”

Some will nestle into their electronic devices, curl up with Sky Mall, or try and pretend that the person next to them is not happening. But, come on, travel is a chance to engage in democracy, feel the pulse of the nation (you’ll be close enough), or, as my mother often urged us, to “make friends.”

A few “ice breakers” may be all you need to get started. If you’re flying, you’ll certainly have plenty of time to get to know your fellow travelers waiting in line for your full-cavity search, or on the run-way. Have a great holiday, and we’ll look for you in the obligatory “holiday travel snarl” piece on the local news. Try and look aggrieved. Just for us.

                           Ice breakers

“You know they’re watching us, don’t you?

“Can I borrow your phone?”

“Sorry, I just can’t shake this cold.”

“Can we switch seats?”

“Do you like movies?”

“Who cut the cheese?”

“Feel free to catch a few ZZZZs.”

“You only live once, right?”

“Do you smell something burning?”

“I paid for that arm rest.”

“What are you reading?”

“Does this look like head lice?”

“You voted for that #$@!, didn’t you?”

“My thong’s riding up my crack.”

“You won’t believe what happened to me today.”

“The doctor said it could be bird flu, but come on, what do they know?

“Are you Jewish?”

“What’d you pay for your ticket?”

“There’s only one thing left to do. You know what I mean, right?”

“You get any closer and we’re going to have to get engaged. Hahahah.”

“Anyone got change for a twenty?”

“First round’s on me.”

“Seriously, does anyone really think this barf bag will do the job?”

“Can I have your pretzels?”

“Where are you going?”

“That sudoku #$@%’s for losers.”

“What do you know? The witness decided not to testify.”

“You heard the one about why planes don’t have urinals?”