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As a boy growing up in Wisconsin I used to listen to the Green Bay Packers on the radio. We would gather around as a family to sit on the edge of our chairs and sweat it out as our team struggled to uphold its position as the premier football team in America, pitting elite athletes with names like Adderly, Nitchske, Dowler, Hornung & Taylor against the likes of Roman Gabriel, Merlin Olsen, Johnny Unitas and Jim Brown. In six years, our team won five league championships - and the man at the helm of the team on offense, the man who set the tone for the team, the man with quiet determination, no flashy running or powerful passing arm, and no apparent ego, was the unforgettable figure of Bart Starr. After those years had gone, we waited a long time for another successful team leader. Finally, we got a brash young man with oodles of physical ability - but

 

Brett Favre, with all his talent, only delivered one championship in all his years with Green Bay. Brett had the arm to throw the long ball - many a time he would open the game with a rocket shot down the field, which had a fair chance of connecting for a big gain or touchdown. Even at the end of games, he was always a threat to hit a last minute bomb, and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. And he was a scrambling fool, turning broken plays into miraculous gains with his antics. Like Casey at the Bat, he gave us hope at any time that he could save the day. But at the end of a long road, the interests of the team were better served by the cool-headed field generalship of the steady, thoughtful strategist, Bart Starr. Who can forget the drive at the end of the Icebowl, when Bart lead his team on a relentless march down the frozen tundra in minus 16 degree weather to defeat the loathed Texan menace of the Dallas Cowboys?

Here we stand, on the field of political action, our leader carefully shepherding our team down the field, not able to complete the long ball (public option), scrambling to evade the assaults of the onrushing tea baggers and republican die-hards, but avoiding the sack, moving the ball forward, and building up the score by small increments. Stimulus package? Passed - Lily Ledbetter Act? Passed. These and other achievements are momentarily overshadowed by the doubtul progress on Health Care Reform. But look at our Quarterback now! We are on the two yard line, he is rallying his team in the huddle, and he is going to go out on the field, hunker down behind Jerry Kramer and Fuzzy Thurston, and punch that ball into the endzone!
We want to win more than one game, or one championship. We want to change the face of the game. And our leader is Bart, not Brett. We have a very good chance of overwhelming, dominating victory. I'll go with the cool head and the steady hand.      

Originally posted to In Memory of Norman Bethune on Tue Mar 16, 2010 at 10:41 PM PDT.

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