Wednesday, 8 June 2011

a nemesis returns

Ok, he never went away. Mike Tanier is more or less my favourite writer of any kind. He writes sensible and funny things for the NYT and Football Outsiders. In his latest column for the latter, he does a riff on Alex Smith. This is not either of the two Alexes Smith who are friends of mine but the Alex Smith who was the first pick in the NFL draft in 2005 and who people had huge expectations of, but who has been incredibly meh. There's something inexplicably anonymous about him, and that is Tanier's gag:

Alex Smith is organising out-of-season workouts with his team. The other QBs, including new boy Colin Kaepernick, don't recognise him ('That guy throws pretty well, though not as well as an NFL quarterback. And he knows a lot about offense, though not as much as an NFL quarterback'), and then:

Smith: No, no, no! I am a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers! And even though I am a free agent right now, I want to return to the team, and I am willing to invest a lot of my energy and my own money into building team camaraderie and demonstrating my commitment to this franchise and this community.

Kaepernick: Gee, I am sorry. From everything I have heard about Alex Smith, I would have expected someone less ... functional.

Smith: What, you assume that just because a quarterback cannot hold onto his starting job he is some kind of stumblebum who cannot do anything right? Just because my arm isn't top notch and I go into slumps, I must be some kind of all-around weakling uninterested or incapable of organizing activities, leading teammates, or contributing anything of value to humanity?

Kaepernick: Yeah, that's pretty much what I assumed.

Smith: Well, take it from me, Colin. You'll have some early career setbacks, too. Talk-radio guys will bash you, bloggers will make fun of you, and everyone will act like a six-year career as an off-and-on starter at the highest level of competition in the world is a reason to feel ashamed. Well, it's not. Faded quarterback prospects can do a lot of things well, and we have a lot to be proud of. Right, David?

Carr: I guess so. I was playing with my smart phone while you were talking. What did you say your name was?

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