Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Warren Raab And Chuck Green -- During Meals, Even

Our phy-ed classes with Mr. Royer, the guy with the zip-in knees who looked like Burt Reynolds, fell into one of two categories: fun stuff — dodgeball, floor hockey, basketball — and dancing.

The dancing unit lasted eight months and consisted of the Virginia Reel, square dancing and novelty dances. The novelty dances consisted of “Go, You Chicken Fat, Go!” and the Hokey Pokey, which everyone hated and which resembled physical education about as much as a salt-and-flour relief map of the United States actually resembles the United States.

Whenever I see Warren Raab I think of the Hokey Pokey. The you-stick-your-right-foot-out part.

Similarly, before Jack Kemp came along, the Buffalo Bills featured the most unremittingly mediocre set of quarterbacks in the history of modern professional football. In their first three years, they trotted out Johnny “Chuck” Green, Tom O’Connell, M.C. Reynolds, defensive back Richie Lucas, Manuch Wheeler, and Bob Broadhead — and still won more than half their ballgames.

It’s easy to see why Green wasn’t a better quarterback. He suffered from some rocket-scientist’s misguided calculation that the way to get more velocity on a downfield pass was to first jump real high; he had a bad number; and he had a horrible nickname.

Quarterbacks aren’t supposed to have nicknames anyway, unless it’s something flashy, like Kenny “The Snake” Stabler or “Broadway” Joe Namath, or unless their given names are beyond hope, like Christian Adolph “Sonny” Jurgensen. But Chuck? It would be like nicknaming Gomez Addams “Lee.”

The back of Green’s card reads, “With the height and weight to take a chance at running the ball, Green worries would-be rushers because of his accuracy on the long throw.”

Uh, right. You bet.
-- From the original Football With 1 Stick Gum, 1999

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