Posted: Wednesday November 17, 2010 9:27AM ; Updated: Wednesday November 17, 2010 4:27PM
Steve Rushin
Steve Rushin>RUSHIN LIT

An ode to kickers

Story Highlights

Their teammates are huge and freakish; they're K-Marts in a world of Gucci

Two Bahrs once meant field-goal perfection; now means poor phone reception

Kickers and goalposts both, I've found, are just built up to get torn down

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Pittsburgh's Jeff Reed began the season as one of the most accurate kickers in NFL history, but after he struggled the Steelers cut him on Tuesday.
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They're common men with names uncommon.
(Where have you gone, Uwe von Schamann?)
They're just plain Folks, they're Happy Fellers,
These Robbie Goulds, these Roy Gerelas.

A poet desperate for a segue
Is grateful for Raul Allegre.
And Vinatieri shilled for Snickers,
But no one else loves field-goal kickers.

Their teammates, each, are huge and freakish,
But they're more . . . Ali Haji-Sheikh-ish.
They're K-Marts in a world of Gucci.
(Where did you go, Dean Biasucci?)

*****

I'm sure the four Zendejas brothers
Were each beloved by their mother.
Otherwise -- brotherwise -- Canton plaques
Will never be cast for Gogolaks.

And Chester Marcol of the Packers,
Olindo Mare and Neil Rackers,
Have suffered fortune's slings and arrows,
With sundry Skips and Chips and Garos.

*****

Anderson, Andersen: Which one's which?
It's Pete, not Peja, Stoyanovich?
Del Greco, Daluiso: Which is which?
There's Toni Linhart and Toni Fritsch?

That Ace Ventura: Pet Detective
Was anti-kicker-filled invective.
The villain was a sicko kicker
Who dressed himself in ladies' knickers.

The movie Gus was even sicker:
It cast a jackass as a kicker.
A football horse, half-mule, half-man?
'Twas Bengal kicker Horst Muhlmann.

*****

Two Bahrs once meant field-goal perfection;
Two bars now mean poor phone reception.
Two Bahrs incarnate -- bros Chris and Matt --
Wore one-bar facemasks across each hat.

Dramatic Arts -- Ars Dramatica --
As performed by Bill Gramatica
Meant leaping, dancing, great emoting --
(An ACL torn while showboating).

*****

They don't deserve your scorn or laughter
This band of men who kick points-after.
Kickers and goalposts both, I've found,
Are just built up to get torn down.

Seldom is heard on ESPN
That glorious surname: "Septien."
A Vikings fan, I'm purple-hazy --
My dreams are still Fuad Reveiz-y.

The tank that's named for General Pershing
Is not as strong as leg of Wersching.
In Oslo this man's fans are legion:
Jan Stenerud kicked in Norwegian.

*****

Alone among his fellow kickers
Mike Vanderjagt misspoke while "liquored".
Or so his quarterback insisted.
Before the kicker got C-listed.

And so my eyes got somewhat misty
When gazing on the Bills' Steve Christie.
The Raiders' kicker sure likes his food.
That Cowboy Buehler's a righteous dude.

Has any avis been more rara
Than Dallas great Efren Herrera?
The Dow, the Nasdaq and the Nikkei
Have fewer points than Igwebuike.

******

You couch-bound slobs, ruled by inertia:
Bow down and worship Rolf Benirschke!
The Toe (Lou Groza)! The Foot (Fred Cox)!
And barefoot freaks wearing single socks!

The opposite of bland was Blanda,
Kicked black-and-white, like Kung Fu Panda;
And nerves? Jay Feely could not feel 'em,
And nor can colleague Jason Elam.

They're shunned and roughed and waiver-wired;
One day they're iced, the next they're fired.
John Carney still has not expired.
Joe Nedney has not yet perspired.

******

The chicks might dig a perfect spiral;
Favre's every utterance goes viral.
Americans though still revile
All things described as "soccer-style."

But when these fans go meet their makers,
If heaven's run by David Akers,
He'll cast aside those heathen sinners
Who shunned him when he missed game-winners.

He'll call the roll in Kicker Heaven:
"Bironas, Rob!" and "Butler, Kevin!"
Dempsey's a Saint, Norwood's a martyr.
The Holy Grail's an 80-yarder.

Steve Rushin is the author of The Pint Man, a novel. Purchase it here. Also check out steverushin.com.

 
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