By the time I came to bed, a furry mountain range had already seized most of the acreage.
Big Blake, the Clydesdale Canine, remained motionless, the dark fur of his muscular body almost invisible in the night. He may not have known the principle about possession being nine-tenths of the law. But he certainly knew how to sprawl across nine-tenths of the bed, leaving only the space my wife Heather was sleeping in, and a small corner of empty mattress that might fit an adult hobbit.
“Come on, Blake.”
Even appealing to Blake’s bottomless stomach won’t always move him off the bed at times like this. And since my own back isn’t up to lifting 80-plus pounds of sleepy dog, what usually follows is half negotiation and half dance, until the thought finally penetrates his mind. “Oh. I am not a Chihuahua. Perhaps I should move over a bit.”
And with great reluctance – and no small amount of nudging – the mountain finally moves.
What makes it frustrating sometimes is that Blake is not a bad dog. Not really. Sure, he’s a klutz who tends to think with his belly instead of his mind, like many a rescue dog before him. But he loves deeply and is loved dearly, an enthusiastic member of the family who practically flies over Pikes Peak when one of his people comes home.
But when he takes up more than his share of space, it still gets on your nerves.
For football fans, that might sound familiar.
The first direct exposure many of us had to Richard Sherman, a cornerback in the Seattle Seahawks “Legion of Boom” was last Sunday. Over the last couple of days, I’ve heard a lot about what a decent guy he actually is, and his background seems to bear it out – the guy who got out of Compton and into Stanford; the guy who, off the field, usually has time to spare if someone else needs it.
But all that got shoved into the background after the NFC championship game, where his game-sealing interception in the end zone was followed by a quick round of trash talk. “Well, I’m the best corner in the game! When you try me with a sorry receiver like (Michael) Crabtree, that’s the result you gonna get! Don’t you EVER talk about me.”
Now, this is sports. A certain amount of braggadocio comes with the game. To compete before a crowd requires supreme confidence, whether it’s the quiet certainty of a Champ Bailey or the flamboyance of a Muhammad Ali. Most fans know that.
But when someone seems to take up more space than he should, when the interior monologue becomes too exterior, especially in an unguarded moment – that’s when it’s going to rub the wrong way.
And that’s why Sherman made a lot of Bronco fans on Sunday.
For that moment – a moment, admittedly, with his “game face” still on and his adrenaline soaring – he came across as rude, obnoxious and willing to put himself before and above the team.
It only takes one of those moments to obscure a lot of nice.
To his credit, Sherman seems to recognize that. When he apologized at a recent news conference, it was for pulling focus from his teammates. Not for believing himself great (or Crabtree mediocre), but for letting his passion push the rest of the team off the stage.
I’m not a mind-reader, so I can’t tell you how sincere he was. Only those who watch him carefully will be able to say for sure which is the posturing, the behavior on the field or the apology off it. But at the least, he understood what it was that had pushed the button and sent things over the edge.
That’s a start.
(It’s also starting from a better place than the Seahawks fans who threw food at an injured San Francisco player, but that’s another story.)
I’ll give the guy a chance. After all, I give Blake plenty of opportunities to clear some space, too.
But if the “best corner in the game” gets beaten a few times by Denver’s high-flying receivers – well, I won’t be terribly disappointed, either.
Now, let’s put this whole thing to bed.