Friday, December 29, 2023

Measuring Time

 As published in The County Times (

By Ronald N. Guy Jr.

Clocks, watches, phones and computers tell time; humans measure time differently – and often it is personal. 

The artist remembers concerts, plays, trips to museums or when a painting or poem perfectly captured their intent.  The musician is innately in tune to the time signature of a song and abstract cadence of life – sometimes perfectly in rhythm, more often than not struggling to find a smooth groove.  Day to day, the mason keeps an internal clock on setting concrete; longer term, the patina on a mason’s well-worn work boots tells an in-depth story – the boots’ memorable first day on the job through numerous projects completed in the unforgiving world of brick, block and mortar and while under assault from the full gamut of Mother Nature’s wrath.  The chef carefully watches the clock while bread bakes or a steak sizzles.  The parent watches time between feedings or diaper changes, and is humbled by the years that wiz by in a dizzying blur as a child progresses from infant, to toddler, to adolescent to adult.  The vain remember the first wrinkle’s or gray hair’s arrival, or that moment when it’s undeniable that hair was traveling from their head to…other places on their body.  Nose.  Ears.  Back.  I’ll stop there.

The sports fan measures time through momentous or recurring athletic events.  Fall is less September or October and more the arrival of the NFL season and playoff baseball.  Spring training and the NCAA Tournament mark the spring; March 20 is just a formality.  Summer is playoff basketball and hockey, pints of beer in ballpark bleachers and kids playing in cul-de-sacs and backyards. 

Specific events mark history.  January 1983, 1988 and 1992: Washington’s Super Bowl championships.  June 2018: The Caps hoist the Stanley Cup.  October 2019: The Nats’ World Series.  October 1983: Orioles World Series.  June 1986: Len Bias’s death.  September 1995: Cal Ripken Jr breaks Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played record.  This stuff is chiseled into my brain as deeply as the most significant events in human history.  Every sports fan has theirs too.  We offer no apologies.    

My memory banks are etched with another melancholy event – the April 1997 death of Jack Kent Cooke, then owner of the Washington football team.  I remember where I was and how I felt – like an era had ended, like a part of my childhood was gone and that the future was now uncertain. 

Two-plus decades later, uncertainty has been replaced by a complete disaster.  RFK Stadium, that once hallowed ground where passionate DMV fans from all personal and political persuasions assembled to celebrate a share love, is now a silent, decomposing carcass.  RFK’s steady decay is the perfect metaphor for the disintegration of the gleaming, respected franchise Daniel Synder bought from the Cooke family in 1999 and the embarrassment he hopes to sell today.

Or does he? 

Snyder, embattled curmudgeon that he is, announced his intent to sell last November - a welcomed ray of light that teased the end of an unimaginably dark period in franchise history.  Despite Snyder’s reign of terror, NFL teams are hot, multi-billion-dollar commodities/toys, so bidders figured to line up for Snyder’s football jalopy.  The assumed favorite was Amazon founder Jeff Bezos – stupid rich, Amazon building its second headquarters in Arlington, owner of The Washington Post. 

Wait…owner of what?  Uh-oh…

The Post has led several investigations of the Commanders and is credited with revealing much of the disgusting activities oozing out of Snyder, Inc.  So needless to say, Bezos and Snyder…probably not sharing bro hugs and trading pictures of billionaire toys.  In fact, Snyder is rumored have blocked Bezos’s bid outright.  Which is so on-brand for Snyder.  By doing so he only potentially harms himself (excluding the highest bid, more public vitriol), elevates the legend of Bezos, further stains the franchise he claims to love, and lowers the value of the other 31 NFL teams.  Ah, but why should any shred of self-awareness be expected from Snyder now?  He is all spite until the bitter end.

But if not Bezos, just let it be someone.  For timekeeping D.C. sports fans, “Spring 2023” needs to be synonymous with Snyder’s merciful exit. 

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