Or performance of a passing C or B- shrouded in acing tests with little to no homework, but at least he showed up to class?
I was making my rounds this morning on the interwebs and came across this headline on Yahoo Sports:
Vick’s confession another blow to Atlanta.
Curious, I was, very much, and so I clicked on the story. Yahoo Sports blogger MJD refers to a recent radio interview with 790 The Zone where the former Atlanta Falcons quarterback said:
There was a lot more I could have done off the field and in the film room that could have elevated my game to a different level…I was complacent at the time, somewhat lazy, and I settled for mediocrity. I thought what I was doing was enough…..Just imagine what I could have been doing if I really would have been applying myself. That’s a regret I have.
While MJD is validly bewildered as to why the fan support before, during, and after Vick’s tango with the law didn’t diminish as greatly as one might believe, MJD’s wording suggests that the entire city of Atlanta held strong in the belief that Vick deserves and receives unanimous unconditional love. I haven’t done any lunchtime polls, but surely the number of his fans and their resolve was never so uniform nor as persevering as this Yahoo Sports blogger’s diction conveys.
The first televised Falcons game footage I have any memory of watching was from their 2002 and 2004 season recaps. The first actual Falcons game I saw live (as in broadcast) was the 2006 season. Perhaps I was too new to the sights and sounds of football game-play, but even on those NFL Films DVDs of Michael Vick’s contributions in the early 21st century, I was never that in awe of his athleticism. Even when his career in the NFL turned from questionable to on indefinite hiatus, I remained mostly indifferent to him as a person. What he did in the eyes of the law was terrible. I wonder, though, if his radio remark could be considered an equally, if not worse, ideological crime.
I read the quote that MJD cites in his blog entry in different ways. Nuance is key. The most straightforward interpretation of Vick’s words is that he consciously knew that he could’ve put more effort into performing to the maximum levels of his talent and skill, yet chose not to apply himself beyond the basics–a passing C. He committed himself 75% to his duties as a quarterback. Or, he applied himself 92-100% to one duty–he may or may not have the best attendance record, but he aces all the tests. Wouldn’t his peers and coaches tolerate passing C or shows-up-just-to-take-the-tests if his game-day performance at least met their standards and expectations? Or, if he didn’t, then his peers and coaches would definitely say something about it?
Furthermore, Vick’s words clearly indicate he’s disappointed with himself…and even deluding himself. Hmm, if I had gone beyond my own expectations, maybe I could’ve taken my team to the Super Bowl and won it and not fallen as hard as I did.
But that’s just silly. If Vick had applied himself 110% all the time and taken the Falcons to a Super Bowl victory and then still had to deal with his dogfighting seeing the legal light? Aigo. He would’ve fallen a lot harder, a lot more profoundly, and possibly at the same rate. Hitting the ground would’ve hurt much, much more. The higher your throne sits, the farther you fall.
What might have been expressed in sincerity and honesty has been transmogrified into something much more foul-smelling. If you’ve never thought word choice was important, well, now you know. It’s all about how you say what you say.
Vick could’ve said, “I’m grateful the League and Philly have given me a second chance at football, sometimes I don’t think I deserve it, but over the last season, getting myself back into shape…I never thought I could push myself this hard and do more than I thought I could have. I wished I had pushed myself harder when I was at Atlanta. I believed what I did there was all I could do, but uh, maybe it wasn’t. I regret not even trying.”
Might those words be less memorable, and thus less likely to have caught MJD’s eyes?
Image cred: google image search. Read the rest of MJD’s piece here.
In less philosophical news, Atlanta’s future and big sports events.