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A Most Shakespearean Season

2012 December 9

By Stuart Dean

It began as a comedy–a farce–how else can you characterize some of the calls made by the replacement refs?

But no one can be laughing now at the tragic turn not of what is on the field but off of it, stage right, so to speak.

At a time when we are accustomed to having news presented in HD and surround sound (or at least graphically enhanced with computer animation) the bare facts of a last kiss on the forehead of the dying mother of a daughter or the obviously pathetic attempt of a friend to pull a friend from a wrecked and burning car create images on their own that for most (other than those exclusively devoted to seeking out real or fantasy betting lines) will not be easily erased.

It all seems unspeakably tragic–the last thing you need is any sound or video enhancement–you want to grab a poet for the right line or phrase.  He is not the only one and these are not the only lines that might help make sense of this, but these lines of Shakespeare, memorized years ago in college, came to my mind and seemed to resonate not only with what for a moment at least Belcher and Brent might have been thinking as they confronted the reality of the death they caused, but what in some sense many ‘fans’ of football must now think about every Sunday, if not every Friday night that bleeds into Saturday morning:

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,

Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,

To the last syllable of recorded time;

And all our yesterdays have lighted fools

The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player

That struts and frets his hour upon the stage

And then is heard no more. It is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury

Signifying nothing.

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