Friday, December 29, 2023

Dream On

As published in The County Times (

By Ronald N. Guy Jr.

Unease.  Discomfort.  Frustration.  Anger.  Anxiety.  Fear.  These are the emotional bedfellows of unwanted change.  And fear, well, fear is the first step on the path to the dark side, according to Master Yoda.  Resist that, we must; but change is an escapable force.

If you have a few decades on your odometer, enough to have experienced the 1990s, if not the 1980s (or before), do you ever just stop and look around and wonder, in the words of the Talking Heads and the incomparable David Byrne, “You may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile; you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife; and you may ask yourself, well how did I get here?”

Consider how the tried-and-true American road trip has changed.  Destinations would be selected based on word-of-mouth suggestions about magical places or alluring pamphlets.  Reservations were made by calling hotels and comparing prices, and required talking to other humans (gasp).  The drive itself was somewhat dicey – uncertain directions, carelessly unfolded maps and for kids, hours of antiquated handheld devices, bad radio stations and significant boredom.  Clark Griswold’s journey to Walley World in National Lampoon’s Vacation was a comic embellishment of such adventures, but it worked because it wasn’t that far disconnected from reality.  Now you can Google map locations, easily find restaurants and activities, and GPS will prevent any wrong turns into desert wastelands.  And with virtual reality and the Metaverse coming, soon “going places” won’t require leaving home.  Sheesh…the risk of a wrong turn or a bad hotel experience has been solved!

And what about raising teenagers?  Once upon a time I could exit my parents’ house with a cryptic description of where my buddies and I were headed (even though I knew exactly what mischief was planned).  Now parents can track kids’ locations, reach them by phone at any moment and even get data on their driving practices.  As a parent now, I often wonder if this is better; while information is power, ignorance is bliss.   

Speaking of change, how about a reading assignment, class?  Check out Sports Illustrated’s recent piece titled “Death of the Local Sports Anchor.”  It is a journey back to a time before the dominance of ESPN, when local sports anchors were gods.  And spoiled we were in the D.C. region with giants like George Michael (The Sports Machine) and the comic genius of Glenn Brenner (The Weenie of the Week).  You know what made vegetables taste better in 1984?  Scarfing them down while watching Brenner crack jokes with Sonny Jurgensen and Michael and Jim Vance ham it up over the latest crazy sports happening during the six o’clock news on Channel 9 and 4, respectively.

I do miss those days. 

Which brings this meandering article to the point of all this change talk: the sale of the Washington Commanders.  What began as a glimmer of hope last fall, but one to be received with skepticism given the seller, has now gained sufficient momentum and generated enough smoke to conclude that there is actually a healthy fire of change ablaze. 

File this under “not all change is bad.”  The thought of our football team cleansed of any vestige of Dan Snyder produces not one of those aforementioned negative emotions.  No, the exit of Snyder is a path from the dark, back into the light.  It allows dreams of winning football and a new stadium in D.C., of an owner who doesn’t meddle and an organization that doesn’t objectify women, maintain a toxic workplace, cut shady financial deals and bleed its fans dry of every hard-earned dime. 

“Every time that I look in the mirror; all these lines on my face getting clearer; the past is gone.”  These are the opening lyrics to Aerosmith’s classic “Dream On”; the words capture the nearing end of Snyder’s reign of terror, one that has battered a once great beacon of the DMV community.  And while that new organization won’t be covered like Brenner and Michael did on those cherished sports segments of yesteryear, perhaps that great feeling of pride in the…in our…burgundy and gold can be regenerated again. 

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