Baron Batch’s portrait of Troy Polamalu
In a comment on yesterday’s article elpalito said:
We want to like the people we root for. We like to dislike the people we root against. It just makes things ‘easier’.
I certainly agree with this. My admitted reluctance to consider any mitigating factors in Vontaze Burfict’s upbringing which might explain, if not excuse, the sort of person he appears to be would have made it clear, if it wasn’t before. But I think it goes deeper than likes and dislikes.
There is an element of myth to how we view football players—particularly in certain cases. The obvious example which comes to mind is Isaac Redman. For those of you who weren’t active on Behind the Steel Curtain during particularly the early years of his Steelers career, it actually became a joke—so much so that I wrote the following about his locker, which I had seen in my tour of the Southside facility:
Isaac Redman’s locker is—well, I don’t know quite how to describe it. It is as if he put everything in the locker with enormous precision, but the force of his personality disrupted the molecules in the various items a bit. Or perhaps the earth tilted very slightly when he walked away. In other words, it was tidy, almost.
What is it about certain players that catches our imagination? It could be because they have done things in their non-football lives that we admire, although this is fairly rare, given the young age they typically enter the NFL. But Alejandro Villanueva would typify this.