From Goofus to Gallant to Glory to Gold

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the 2008 Summer Olympics end and the football season gets under way, it’s time we look at the two most salient athletic heroes of today: Michael Phelps and Eli Manning.

Last January Eli defied Vegas oddsmakers and led the New York football Giants past the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, his Hail Manning pass a perfect summary of his awkward amble to greatness.

At this year’s Beijing Olympics Michael Phelps emerged as the Great White Hope, capturing 8 gold medals for the US.  His jarring speech pattern belied his complete confidence and grace in the pool, allowing for the mean-spirited but accurate idiom, “as uncomfortable as a Phelps out of water.” 

In an era of the Apatocolypse during which leading, white men have been recast as ineffectual man-boys who cling to immature homosocial relationships and see women as problems to deal with, it’s fitting that our real-life white role models come off as socially awkward doofs.  Tom Brady may get the girl, but he doesn’t get the glory.

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