Monday, January 23, 2012

For the Good of the Sport

One of the traditions in sports that I have grown to love are the friendly wagers made between mayors of opposing cites. It gives us much needed perspective and reminds us that this is still just a game. At a time we forget with the buildup, pressure, and millions on the line why we love sports in the first place. A few weeks ago before the Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers game, their cities respective mayors made a friendly wager. Unlike the usual wager set between mayors from opposing cities there was no food involved. Instead their fashion choices would be at stake, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock had agreed to wearing a Steelers’ jersey and a yellow “Terrible Towel” to a public event. Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl on the other hand agreed to wearing a Broncos’ jersey and” Tebowing” for the media. Well now we know the results and here is a picture of the epic event that followed.
Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl "Tebowing"
This story doesn’t end here either, Luke Ravenstahl decided to take a fun bet and turn it into something far more meaningful. This past week Ravenstahl put his new Tebow jersey up for auction on Ebay to raise money for a local charity. The auction ended up bringing in $1,400 for the charity Pittsburgh Promise which is an organization that gives scholarships to students who graduate from Pittsburgh public schools to pay for their college tuition. Who would think a fun bet ending with a government official “Tebowing” would end up make a difference in a student’s life. 

Other bets that have been made so far this playoffs include Denver’s Mayor Michael Hancock wearing a Tom Brady jersey to a Denver Nuggets game. With this gesture came 40 pounds of Colorado beef as well. I am sure Boston’s Mayor Tom Menino is going to need plenty of friends to help finish off all the food especially since he just won some crab cakes from Baltimore’s Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. From the New York Giants and San Francisco 49ers the stakes were high with naming rights of 49 St. in New York City on the line, and the potential of a cable car flying a NY Giants flag up and down the streets of San Francisco. Still waiting on photos of the cable car but I am sure it will be painful for 49er fans to see. Of course once again food was also involved and a batch of sour dough bread will be on its way to New York City.
Denver's Mayor rocking a Tom Brady jersey at a Nuggets game
Both NFC and AFC Champion games were gut wrenching and filled with "what ifs" for both losing teams. It is easy to focus on the mistakes make, but let's take a step back and remember this is just a game and I hope that eventually we don’t forget that and create the next Bill Buckner/Steve Bartman nightmare. It isn’t fair to either side to focus on the mistakes made, and like Ray Lewis said yesterday, “we win as a team and we lose as a team.” I think these Mayors have taken it one step further and now “we win as a city and we lose as a city.” 

As we prepare for the XLVI Super Bowl, I have no idea what Bloomberg and Menino will wager for this upcoming game, but I do know that both Mayors will have been well fed leading up to it. 


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