The Swaggering Beast from the Midwest only wants her on his terms, and he is known as a hard taskmaster.
You love your dearest more than you’ve loved anyone or anything. You’ve been together 55 years. For you, it’s always been till-death-do-us-part.
In the beginning the relationship was passionate on both sides. She was living in the slums, working out of a seedy football stadium built in 1914. You didn’t care. She was employed by a start-up football league. She said it was a big-league league and very professional. Your friends laughed, said she was a poser. You didn’t care.
She was glamorous, eager to please, and fun to be around. At first things went beautifully, she won the startup league’s championship in 1963 and went on to play for the championship the following year and the year after that.
Those were good years, exciting years, you’d never been so happy. And then she was invited to join the Royal Court, become a full-fledged member of the richest sports league in the world.
Oh, you were so happy for her! In fact, down deep, it was hard to believe that this much goodness could come your way. You bought her a new stadium so she could prance, preen, and show her stuff to the whole wide world.
Sure, there was some self-interest in there. You wanted, no, needed, to keep her happy so she would stay. In the back of your mind there was always a nagging worry she would leave. In your heart you believed you were small time. You were afraid she did too.
Things didn’t go well in the Royal Court, it didn’t seem like she belonged. She didn’t manage a winning season for eight years in a row. She never won the championship, rarely made the playoffs. You didn’t care.
Then she began to nag, wanted you to buy her “improvements,” buy her unsold tickets. Always wanting something.
You agreed to remodel her quite respectable stadium. You spent $78 million to spruce it up, add 10,500 seats, 34 suites, four club lounges, and as bonus, threw in a new practice field.
At first she seemed satisfied, but it wasn’t long, three short years in fact, before her nagging resumed. “I want a nicer home, I want a billion-dollar stadium. What’s wrong with you? Are you a big-league city or not?”
She started flirting with other cities. “That big, muscular city of Los Angeles called me, thinks I’m cute, wants to take care of me. Look at you! You’re nothing but a sniveling little loser who can’t afford to be with someone like me!”
You wanted to keep her so much. You offered her more money, more land. And still she flirted. You thought it was just her way. She abused you, used you, but still, you didn’t care, you loved her.
And then she filed for relocation.
She hooked up with another franchise and ran off to Los Angeles. At least that was their plan. They were going to be partners, 50-50, start a new life together, build the biggest most wonderful stadium in the world. It would be their love nest and they would be rulers of the second-largest market in the land. She abandoned you without a goodbye, without the slightest expression of regret.
All the potentates in the Royal Court said they were on her side. They laughed and clapped her on the back. The national press said this match was set in stone. The Royal Court formed a committee to bless and sanctify her love nest and those wise men voted 5 to 1 in her favor.
And now the entire Royal Court gathered and somebody yelled, “Let’s have a secret ballot!” How jolly, how democratic. And they held a secret ballot and she lost 30 to 2.
Turns out the Royal Court had other ideas about who she should live with. They ran off her suitor from Northern California, and presided over a shotgun marriage, your sweetheart and a Swaggering Beast from the Midwest.
It wasn’t even a shotgun marriage, the Swaggering Beast only agreed to take her in on his terms, and he is known far and wide as a hard taskmaster. She would be a supplicant, dependent on his favor for as long as the new stadium stands. What a humiliation, to become a mere tenant in another man’s stadium!
The Vegas Line
NFL Conference Championships
She slunk back to San Diego, tail between her legs, and yet, even unto this moment, won’t make a commitment to you. Won’t say she loves you, instead asks for more money, more money than you can possibly afford.
Your friends ask, “How long are you going to keep groveling? She doesn’t love you, she never has. Have some dignity for fuck’s sake.”
But you don’t care about dignity. You love her.