Tuesday, March 1, 2011

For everyone there is a season? Thoughts on Clinton Portis, Sarah Palin, and people in general who make the news . . .

The wheel turns, times passes, things change, people get famous and then they get less famous.

I've been "hailing" the Washington Redskins since I was a kid, sitting in our living room in Greensboro, North Carolina,  watching football with my Dad. Back then, the 'Skins were the only remotely Southern team, so I, along with a whole generation of southerners, got stuck with being Redskins fans for life.

Yesterday brought the news that the arguably perennially dysfunctional Washington Redskins front office had released running back Clinton Portis. This action may, possibly, make football sense, but I, for one, will miss him.


Not only was Clinton Portis the second leading rusher in franchise history, he was one of the few mega-good professional football players who consistently dared to appear seriously goofy. If you follow the NFL at all, I'm sure you remember the get-ups Mr. Portis wore to his mid-decade press conferences, back when he was still The Man among NFL running backs.

For example . . .

Clinton Portis a.k.a Choo Choo, the dance instructor.
Here's Mr. Portis'  alter-ego, Choo-choo the Dance Instructor, whom he introduced at a 2007 press conference. Choo Choo, according to dcist.com, a website about Washington, had . . .
. . . come to town to teach the Redskins how to relax, have fun, and of course — perfect their endzone dances. Previous students include Santana Moss and Antwaan Randel El. Choo Choo's next student: Clinton Portis. Said Choo Choo, "It took 196 yards to give me hope that I can teach the boy how to dance. I'm going to teach that boy. Choo Choo. Choo Choo, right here. I hope he gets in the end zone. I'm going to teach him. I'm going to teach him, man, I'm going to teach." He also gave updates on beloved characters from the past (they're still around; Southeast Jerome is up in heaven), and refused for most of the presser to break character or speak on Clinton's behalf.
Mr. Portis was cut for financial reasons -- the Redskins would owe him $8.3 million if he took to the field for them next season. And, the reality is, at 29 and having been injured a lot, Portis may be at the beginning of the end of his career. There's also talk that Portis is relieved to be leaving.

Whatever is really behind the Clinton Portis/Washington Redskins divorce, Portis has, as always, played it pretty cool. Reports the Washington Posts' Cindy Boren:
Portis was philosophical about the transitory nature of NFL jobs. "No one is irreplaceable...Enjoy as much as you can and when it's time for you to move on, be ready." Whether it's Keiland Williams or Ryan Torain, "another back is gonna come along and steal the hearts of fans."
Wow, is that a great curtain speech or what. Especially for an NFL player who shares a body with Choo Choo the dance instructor.

Yesterday also saw this news posted as well on CNN's website:

Palin's intensity in Iowa fading, says poll
(CNN) – As Sarah Palin mulls a presidential bid, the former Alaska governor is getting mixed news from Iowa, the state that traditionally kicks off the presidential primary season.
A newly released poll from the Des Moines Register suggests Palin is still liked by many GOP voters in the state, but perhaps not to the degree she once was. 
The former Republican vice presidential nominee's favorability rating has slipped 6 points in the last year and a half among likely GOP caucus-goers in the state, a number that, while within the poll's sampling error, may suggest the excitement around Palin is beginning to dissipate as other likely presidential candidates have spent significantly more time there over the last 15 months. . . . And in another sign the intensity around Palin is fading in the Hawkeye State, support among GOP voters who say they view Palin "very favorably" has dropped 9 points, from 27 to 18 percent.
young Sarah Palin
It's long been hard to figure out which Ms. Palin wants to be more: President of the United States or a rich celebrity. A lot of her energy expenditure over the past couple of years points toward rich celebrity:

Concentrating on being a celebrity may be a shrewd move for the former Vice-Presidential candidate. UPI.com reported yesterday:
ROCK HILL, S.C., Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Republican activists may like Sarah Palin on the issues, but many don't want her as their presidential candidate. 
At a recent fundraising dinner of the York County, S.C., Republican Party, party stalwarts told McClatchy Newspapers the former Alaska governor lacks the experience and knowledge to run successfully, let alone govern. 
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who spoke at the event, appealed to many as "Sarah Palin with a brain," said Gail Moore of Columbia, S.C.
Ms. Palin
The San Jose Mercury News puts it this way: "Republicans still like her, but now they openly question whether she could or should be nominated for president, let alone elected."

No one disputes Sarah Palin is photogenic, sassy, a brilliant self-promoter, a crowd-pleaser among her base, which is who exactly? Anyone know? But whoever they are, way back at the beginning of this year the National Journal opined that, when it comes to political office, "how far she ultimately goes will depend on how successfully she reassures voters beyond that base that she is qualified to be president."

So why am I writing about Clinton Portis and Sarah Palin in the same blog -- besides the fact that they were both in the news yesterday? Because it got me thinking about the different reasons I keep up with people in the news..

I read about Clinton Portis because I know what his job is and I've  enjoyed watching him do it well for close to a decade. I admire his skills, grit, tireless efforts, his team play. Portis has worked hard and  consistently since he first took the field in Denver in 2002. 
Clinton Portis/Southeast Jerome

In contrast, I read about Sarah Palin, truthfully, just to see what that gal is up to now. I'm a little hazy about what, exactly she's accomplished in the political arena that's anything close to Clinton Portis' accomplishments on the football field.

Of course, I did love Clinton Portis' antics at press conferences. But I loved them most because they were stacked on top of a solid record of achievement. I enjoy Sarah Palin's antics at press conferences simply as antics. 

Perhaps both of these stars are waning in the public firmament. Certainly both shone brightly for a time for different reasons in different careers. For everyone there is a season. I find myself wondering which of them will live easier as they find themselves slipping out of the news. 

You got any ideas?

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