a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Monday, September 21, 2009

Amanda Gillooly has a lesson for Tom Brady

Tom Brady, originally uploaded by climbingkevin.

Dear Tom Brady,

When playing Hungry Hungry Hippos with my then 4-year-old nephew, I didn’t know he had already subscribed to the Brady Method. I made the mistake of grabbing the last white ball, indicating that the game was over and it was time to count whose hippo had been best fed.

I had purposely let Nicholas win. When my orange hippo gobbled up that last piece of the proverbial pie, my nephew clearly had double the amount I did. But that didn’t matter. It wasn’t enough for him to win. He had to end the game on his own note. It was his way or no way at all.

So before I could even cognicize what had happened, Nicholas picked up the game board and smashed it down onto the carpet again, throwing the little balls across the room in a frenzy. Then he started crying.

That was the last time he reacted this way. His mom, dad and me since have gotten him to understand these rules of playing any game:

1. Winning isn’t everything. It matters if you tried hard and if you had fun. Being a sore loser is just as reprehensible as being a sore winner.

2. No matter if you win or lose, you have to respect the game and the people playing with you.

Tom, I’m not going to tell you he doesn’t have lapses. He is 5, and when playing videogames or hoops outside, he gets frustrated. But I couldn’t be more proud of him. These days, he stops himself after a few seconds of pouting at a loss and perks up.

“Hey, Aunt Mandy, I lost. But that’s OK, right? Because I can always play again – and it IS fun.”

And I won’t lie to you Tom. I can’t stand you as a player. In fact, I almost get as much satisfaction watching you and your fellow New England Patriots lose as when my beloved Steelers win. And it has everything to do with you, sir.

The talking heads on ESPN and the NFL network spent all last week singing your praises when you “upset” the Buffalo Bills with a touchdown drive on a short field. It was the heroic storyline ESPN clearly wished to pursue at the conclusion of that Monday Night Football victory.

Now, I watched the Bills return guy give you the game, Brady. If the dude simply had knelt, you, the Prince of the Patriots would have come off an injury-ending season premiering your arm to questions about how the once unstoppable force of football had faltered.

Instead, ESPN sideline reporter Suzy Kolber approached you and lobbed you a question. I believe it had something to do with what it felt like to lead a team back from the brink of defeat in the waning minutes of the season-opener.

And what did you do, Mr. Brady? You, the franchise quarterback and football ambassador to your city first tried to ignore her, telling Ms. Kolber that you were heading into the locker room. But God bless her, she wouldn’t let your ego get in the way with her getting a quote. You started walking away from her, shaking hands with some of the guys on the other side of the field. She walked with you. Then in an act of arrogance and professional disrespect, you began jogging away from her.

And then in a move that every spurned journalist should respect, Suzy started jogging right along with you. To my surprise, some of her fellow ESPN anchors stepped out of their usually supportive Brady philosophical stances and spoke about how ignorant you were.

From what I recall, ESPN pays mucho dollars to host the venerable weekly broadcast. And you, the victor, wouldn’t even answer a question designed to allow you to present yourself as the humble winner.

Then there was the eyeful I got last night after your rather embarrassing loss to the New York Jets and their rookie quarterback. I believe it was the first time your coach was beat by a freshman quarterback (other than Big Ben).

When the game ended with your team with a check in the loss column, players from both sides of the battle took off their helmets and patted each other on the backs and shook each other’s hands. Not you, though. You took off toward the locker room without congratulating a young man who made an impressive start in the NFL against one of the top-ranked quarterbacks in the league.

I really just detested you as a fan, before, Mr. Brady. Now I despise you as an aunt.

Nobody asks to be a role model, or someone’s own personal Jesus. But those roles get thrust upon us. I thought even someone as egocentric as you would at least recognize all the kids out there who are buying more than your game jersey, but your approach to the game and competing in general.

It’s easy to be gracious when you win, and the fact you can’t even do that much makes you less of an all-star and more of an ass.

I think you’d be wise to remember what Yogi Berra said: “The game is supposed to be fun. If you have a bad day, don’t worry about it. You can’t expect to get a hit every game. It gets late early out there.”

That’s certainly not for me. As inappropriate as it is, I love watching you pout and stomp and be unctuous and classless. To me, it just helps give further insight into your meager character. But there are kids out there like my nephew who pray to God to let them be just like you.

And I think you shouldn’t take that lightly – win or lose.

Warmest Regards,

Amanda “I think reporters should boycott Brady until he apologizes to Suzy Kolber” Gillooly


Dawn Keller said...

The best part of football this weekend was seeing him play so horridly. I loved it!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Aunt Mandy,
Not that I ever saw Mr. Tom B. in more than a flickering bathroom night light anyway; I'm glad you explained what happened since I didn't see the attempt at an interveiew. Graciousness is certainly a virtue....Leonard

Amanda Blu said...


Little walls have big ears, right?

Aunt Mandy