Punishing Poetry: Number 37

I haven’t been into football since I was a kid.  By the time I got to college I couldn’t be bothered with it.  But there was a time, back in the 1970s, when I was a true fan.  I even played a season of flag football when I was in I think 9th grade.

I do however always watch the Superbowl, a tradition that started when I watched Superbowl III with Pop.  While I was watching this last one I started thinking about my favorite player from back in the 1970s — #37 Pat Fischer.  He was defensive back for the Redskins.

Pat Fischer was 5’9″ tall and just 170 pounds (just a shade bigger than yours truly), so small he had to have his jerseys made special, yet he was one of the most punishing hitters ever to play the game.  He played an amazing 17 seasons, during which time he racked up 56 interceptions (in the NFL top 20).  He is also credited with inventing the “bump-and-run” coverage technique that was eventually banned by the league.  Tenacious, scrappy, and dogged, he was like a pack of jackals.  And if you took your eyes off of him while crossing the middle, you might wake up in the locker room.

You can read a really detailed bio here.

As documented in this article, Pat liked his poetry.  Here’s one of his favorites.  RIP Pat — you were one tough little S.O.B.

Here’s To The Men Who Lose (author unknown)

Here’s to the men who lose!
What though their work be e’er so nobly planned,
And watched with zealous care,
No glorious halo crowns their efforts grand;
Contempt is failure’s share.

Here’s to the men who lose!
If Triumph’s easy smile our struggles greet,
Courage is easy then;
The King is he, who after fierce defeat,
Can up and fight again.

Here’s to the men who lose!
The ready plaudits of a fawning world
Ring sweet in victors’ ears;
The vanquished banners never are unfurled,
For them there sound no cheers.

Here’s to the men who lose!
the touchstone of true worth is not success.
There is a higher test –
Though fate may darkly frown, onward to press,
And bravely do one’s best.

Here’s to the men who lose!
It is the vanquished’s praises that I sing.
And this is the toast I choose:
“A hard-fought failure is a noble thing!
Here’s to the men who lose.”

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