We were actually given the opportunity to be at Ford Field in Detroit to see the Steelers beat the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL. In 2001 we endured relentless verbal abuse from Ravens fans during the Broncos' wild card loss in Baltimore. For my wife's thirtieth birthday we got to see John Elway play for our first time at Three Rivers Stadium when the Broncos lost in the regular season, only to come back and beat Pittsburgh in the AFC championship game on the way to their first Super Bowl win. We were at the last Monday night game at Mile High Stadium. We've also seen games at Heinz Field and Invesco Field. We're some of the few people who remember September 10, 2001 because we watched Bronco wide receiver Ed McCaffrey haul in a catch that resulted in a hit that broke his leg on Monday Night Football. Ed's my all-time favorite Bronco. I didn't think I could feel sadder until the horrible morning that followed. We live for the Fall and hope we have something to cheer for in the Winter. Spring and Summer we resume our lives.
My wife and I have two dogs, Drambuie and Locutus. They're sisters we rescued over five-and-a-half years ago when they were about 10 weeks old. We think they may be Shepherd-Retriever mixes. They're the second-best decision I ever made after marrying my wife and before owning Hondas. Yes, I made the decision on the spot to take them. We always spoke of getting two so they would have each other when we weren't around and so they could be dogs together. The ordinance officers who rescued them offered to show them to my wife at her workplace. She burst into tears upon seeing them. I always wanted a dog as a child, but couldn't have one. My wife didn't know what to expect, but she was open to it and trusted my decision. We have been truly blessed every day since to have them in our lives.
Dogs search for and rescue us amidst disasters. They spend their lives committed solely to assisting the blind and disabled. They help protect law enforcement personnel, subdue criminals and detect explosives. Dogs provide millions with companionship, loyalty and unconditional love. How many of us would provide all of the above for just a meal or two a day? Man's best friend? Sometimes man's only friend. It breaks my heart and fills me with rage to think of dogs such as these or mine being used as bait while muzzled, terrified and defenseless. Ironically, these poor creatures are savaged by fight dogs that are no less victims. After each has served its purpose, or failed to, they're dispatched with heinous cruelty. As much separates slaughter for food and torture for entertainment, in both substance and distance, as the earth is separated from the moon.
Michael Vick deserves a second chance, but not with the NFL -- ever. Michael Vick didn't make mistakes, he made choices -- chilling, sadistic, deeply disturbing and criminal choices. What constitutes a bad person? Someone is good or bad by what they do or don't, not by people saying they're good or bad. Someone is good or bad by the totality of their deeds and misdeeds, but if the scales are so close and you have to look that hard, isn't it obvious? Is a priest who spent a lifetime counseling troubled marriages; baptizing babies; comforting loved ones of the deceased; feeding the poor; housing the homeless and molesting children a good person? Good or bad, he's at least forfeited the right to be a priest. Is a pro football player who earned and was given position, fortune and fame; won many games; participated in philanthropy; electrocuted, drowned and stomped to death dogs a good person? Good or bad, he's at least forfeited the right to be a professional football player in the NFL.
Bumper sticker: "Be the person your dog thinks you are." Michael Vick showed his dogs exactly who he was. Michael Vick showed us all who he is. Football fans deserve better than Michael Vick. The NFL, its teams and players deserve better than Michael Vick. My dogs deserve better than Michael Vick.
My love and gratitude to my wife for her photographic and editing skills and to my endlessly photogenic girls.