- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
When he was a pitcher for the Pirates, Jerry Reuss examined the media pass pinned to my chest and said, "Working Press? That's kinda like jumbo shrimp." He was right. Sportswriters get paid to sit and watch other people labor, which is one of life's most diverting pastimes. It's why I love This Old House, full-service gas stations and Benihanas.
As a Celtics forward, Cedric Maxwell liked to spend his off-seasons the way I spend every day. "Get up at 11 or 12 o'clock and go around watching other people work," he said. "I love that. After I'm through playing," Maxwell vowed, "I'm going to drive around in my big car, go to construction sites, roll down the window and say, 'Sorry, boys, but I got nothin' to do today.'" In fact, Maxwell did the next best thing--he became a sportscaster, calling Celtics games on the radio.
Being a sports fan, too, consists principally of watching other people work. Nowhere is this more starkly illustrated than at NFL training camps, where players run laps in 100� heat while spectators drink beer and fan themselves with depth charts.
Witness a recent weekday morning at Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots were running through special- teams drills in front of 600 spectators in tank tops, tube tops and flip-flops, the scent of cocoa butter turning Foxborough into the northernmost hamlet of Cape Cod.
"It just shows they love their team and are coming out to support us," said New England kicker Martin Gramatica of the people sitting beneath parasols watching him sweat. "I'm from Argentina, I'm a soccer fan, and I'd do the same thing for my team, Boca Juniors."
Like elevator operators and exotic dancers, athletes are accustomed to being stared at on the job. In the case of Gramatica, Patriots fans were watching to see if he'll be Automatica or Problematica after a year-and-a-half absence from the NFL.
"Anywhere you go, everyone watches the kicker, but even more so here because of Adam," said Gramatica, who is trying to fill the shoes of departed free-agent Adam Vinatieri, though not literally so. As he spoke, the elfin Gramatica was holding his kicking shoe, a size 6. It looked like something you'd push around a Monopoly board.
The world is separated between doers and watchers, what Teddy Roosevelt famously called the "man in the arena" and "those cold and timid souls" who watch--and criticize--the man in the arena.
Tattooed on Seymour's considerable left biceps is Philippians 4:13, which reads, i can do all things through christ who strengthens me. On my (slightly smaller) biceps should be 2 Thessalonians 3:11, a perfect description of the motley press corps. It reads, there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies.