Tired, but still a champion

Yes, it’s true, as JB mentioned Tuesday, I have been a little busy over the last couple of days because a certain quarterback decided to retire.

Though I watched him practice a few times, watched him play hundreds of times and typed his name thousands of times, I never met Brett Favre.

But I long ago came to regard him as something special, something to be appreciated in the moment because we are not likely to see a player like that again in my lifetime.

Two songs came to mind when the news of Favre’s retirement broke.

One came from a woman who e-mailed me from the Chicago area. Almost distraught, she invoked Thelma Houston’s “Don’t Leave Me This Way.”

The other — lest you think I’m too reverent — popped into my head when I heard Favre say he was worn out mentally: “I’m Tired,” by Madeline Kahn, from the film “Blazing Saddles.” That, of course, is a song about sex.

“I’m tired/Tired of playing the game/Ain’t it a crying shame/I’m so tired/God dammit I’m exhausted.”

“Tired, tired of playing the game/Ain’t it a crying shame/I’m so tired.”

Now that you have that image of Brett Favre as seductive dance hall girl seared into your head, let me offer a real tune for your consideration.

In 1997, in the wake of Green Bay’s victory in Super Bowl XXXI, Packers safety Eugene Robinson produced a rather eclectic urban/soul/R&B EP that turned Lipps Inc.’s “Funkytown” into “Titletown,” covered McFadden and Whitehead’s “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now” and had the Packers’ Reggie White singing “Amazing Grace.”

That EP also featured a slow, smooth, soul- and R&B-tinged version of a familiar sports-rock anthem.

I got the chills when they played Queen’s “We Are The Champions” at Lambeau Field on Christmas Eve 1995, after the Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers to win their first division title in seemingly forever.

Great as that was, and is, I’ve come to like this version better.

eugenerobinsontitletowncd.jpg

“We Are The Champions,” Darnel Alexander, David Booker and Tracy Harris, from “(Eugene Robinson Presents) Titletown,” 1997. It’s out of print.

Alexander and Booker were in 2nd Nature, an early-’90s R&B group out of Seattle, where Robinson played for a decade before coming to Green Bay. As for Harris, I don’t know anything about her.

5 Comments

Filed under March 2008, Sounds

5 responses to “Tired, but still a champion

  1. Indeed… probably won’t be another Favre.

    Nice song choices.

  2. As a football fan, I’m saddened, truly, by Favre’s retirement. He’s been an absolute original, fun to watch, and his name does not look out of place in a list that includes Unitas, Montana, Marino and Otto Graham. I think he joins them in the top five of all time (with Montana my choice for the top spot). That’s pretty good company.

    As a Viking fan, I’m relieved.

    And the song is great! I’ll just have to somehow ignore its provenance.

  3. Whiteray, I would replace Marino with Bart Starr in your list. Starr was 9-1 in championship games, including two Super Bowl victories. Marino…zilch.

  4. Great career, a blast to watch him play; will never forget the Raider game a few years ago he played the night after his father passed away.

    Okay, time to bring back Scott Hunter…;)

  5. Willie, a good point. But I think that Marino’s lack of titles is more a reflection of lack of the talent the Dolphins had during his career, and I think the same is true of Starr’s titles: they reflect the abundance of talent around him. Starr was a good one, no doubt, but I think he’s short of the top five. He’d fight for a spot in the second five with, oh, Staubach, Bradshaw, Tarkenton, Steve Young, Fouts, Griese, maybe Aikman.

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