Play it again, Gronk

So Gronk is back. Not surprising really because he always reminded us of an overgrown kid out there having a good time. When it was no longer fun, he was no longer there.

But where there happens to be is an important part of the game.

On the New England Patriots, football is not played, it is worked. It is a job, one with high standards enforced by a taskmaster who seems to have little feeling for the workers, seeing them as merely replaceable cogs in a machine that has efficiency as its only goal. It’s sort of the artificial intelligence/robotic method of winning titles. It’s the Vince Lombardi ethos brought into the 21st century. It is the Ulysses S. Grant theory of warfare: Win regardless of the costs.

It is effective, if not exactly endearing — especially to the troops who can be counted as one of the “costs.” So Gronk and Brady defected. Not all that surprising really.

It does seem that people are surprised that they defected to Tampa Bay. If they were looking for a playground, Miami would have seemed a better choice, but Tampa is a nice town. It is warm. It’s on the water, and it gets a nice sea breeze even in the summer. There is a spritely night life, though it is a good deal more restrained than Miami’s — but of course that would be true of anywhere other than Las Vegas. It’s a somewhat mature destination for our somewhat mature playboys.

And that is what they are. They want to play like boys. Have fun. Feel the warmth. Frolic on the field. If they win games, fine. If they come up a bit short — well, there’s always the beach.

This seems a bit frivolous and not well suited to the No Fun League, but that’s going to depend on your reaction to the Patriot’s Dynasty and its dour general. Is winning the only thing? Is garnering another ring worth all the repetitive practices and constant preparation?

Or is there something more to “playing” a game?

I have always thought so. There are many joys in playing rather than working. Listing them would take far too long, but it’s mostly that feeling of a team working together and trying to be as good as they can be. That is what I wanted my players to feel, and it is a feeling that lasts a good deal longer than the attraction of trophies or rings.

I think it is that feeling that our boys are searching for, and I hope they find it in Tampa.


Millerton resident Theodore Kneeland is a former teacher and coach -— and athlete.

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