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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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From My Window

Issue Date: January 17, 2020

Jane Thibodeau Martin

San Francisco Bound

I am sure a lot of you had a hard time unwinding to go to sleep Sunday night after the Packer game like I did. It was thrilling, stressful, frustrating and exhausting by turns; and I was wound up good and tight by the time it was over.

Texts were flying all afternoon and evening. My daughter-in-law's mom - who is a sweet friend of ours, lives in Oklahoma and comes from a clan of fiercely loyal and long-suffering Chiefs fans. I shared her angst during their ugly start, where they fell behind 24-0 before roaring back, leading to many funny quips from her via text that had me highly entertained but won't be documented here. Then it was on to the Packer game.

Our daughter and her wonderful husband went to work on Friday in Seattle, where they live, in Packer apparel. Now, the Seattle fans are as rabid as Packer fans, so that was a brave move. (For those of you who like hash tags, I called their clothing statement #shewasraisedright and #A+soninlaw.)

Our son in Tulsa, daughter and her husband in Seattle, and Mike and I in Wisconsin agonized and celebrated together during the game via the electronic world of texts, united in thoughts if not in physical presence. (My son's wife suffered through TWO games, being born to a Chiefs tribe but married into a Packer tribe.) At the end, our daughter summed it up for her: "I think there will be a lot of fussy people at my (Seattle) workplace tomorrow."

On to San Francisco - a very tough game looms; but today is for celebrating the team who got it done again.

Another thing I was focused on during the game was prompted by a pre-game photo of a billboard in Green Bay making fun of the Seattle football team's coach, who is noted for his gum-chewing. The billboard says, "The gum stops here," a humorous tease from Packer Nation.

I was actually watching the Seattle game the previous weekend and noticed Coach Carroll's gum antics. He had a big wad of what looked like pink bubblegum in his mouth. He pushed it out of his mouth with his tongue and then pulled it back in again, chewing viciously. Then he blew a bubble before suddenly pushing the wad to the side of his mouth to yell at a referee.

I guess this is some sort of stress relief, or perhaps it stifles his urge to use profanities. But the same sort of spectacle goes on in baseball, where not only players but also managers and coaches seem to always be gnawing on sunflower seeds, like some sort of over-sized rodents. Apparently this behavior was long-established in baseball, originating with chewing tobacco. I do remember watching ballplayers hork out big wads of disgusting goop on TV while playing ball when I was a little girl. Perhaps the hazards of chewing tobacco led to the substitution of sunflower seeds; or maybe it was to try and stem the use of chewing tobacco among player-emulating kids. Once use of chewing tobacco declined steeply, Reggie Jackson is credited with starting baseball's sunflower seed habit. One source I read about this said that chewing something helped players on old-time dusty, unirrigated dirt infields keep their mouths moist. It strikes me as peculiar, though, to watch managers in the dugout chomping and spitting out seed hulls endlessly during games, or Coach Carroll chomping away at his gum like our dog when she finds a disgusting piece of carrion she knows I am going to snatch away. I had a flashback yesterday to one of my gum-hating school teachers who would roll in his grave if he'd been able to see the gum chewing spectacle.

I find it hard not to compare these highly-paid, high-pressure professional team leaders - sports team managers and coaches, who know they will appear often on TV cameras; to equally highly paid, high-stakes business leaders and politicians, who also perform under a microscope.

What would we think of the business executive, listening to a presentation on financials of grave import, while chomping gum and blowing bubbles? People in the room would be aghast.

Or perhaps in the endless droning of a senate legislative meeting, the TV camera comes to rest on an esteemed senator, spitting out sunflower seed shells into an empty foam coffee cup. As soon as shells are spit out, more seeds are ferried to his mouth. (It is safe to say "his" here. Very few women would be caught spitting out anything if they thought there was any chance at all they'd appear on TV doing so.) Unless this senator represented a big sunflower growing state, or had accepted a big campaign donation from a snack company, most of us would probably find this elected official's behavior unprofessional. (If he owed his soul to the snack company we'd just shug our shoulders, as we've come to expect politicians to be bought and sold.)

I hear the Kansas City Chief's grounds crew ran out of fireworks to celebrate touchdowns during their playoff game there were so many scores. And I wouldn't be surprised if some "go-fer" from the Seattle team was out scouring stores looking for more bubblegum during the Green Bay game. After all, the gum stopped in Green Bay, as predicted.

Go Pack, Go!

You can reach me for commentary, alternative viewpoints or ideas at this e-mail address: JanieTMartin@gmail.com.


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