A 10-Hankie Weekend
By Brian Murphy
Special to Page 2

Somebody call Tom Hanks. We need his Jimmy Dugan character from "A League Of Their Own."

Brian's Song
The new version of "Brian's Song" produced the same old result -- tears.
There's no crying at The Cooler!

I swear, I'm not sniffling. See, there've been these big rainstorms in Northern California all weekend, and my Saturday tee time and Sunday softball game got washed out, and so I stayed inside and watched TV -- all the way through "Brian's Song" on ABC -- and, and ... well, I swear, I'm not sniffling. Somebody left the window open and that storm off the Pacific got the floor near The Cooler all wet.

Now will you pass me a damn Kleenex and be done with it?

I guess it all started with the Army-Navy game Saturday morning. It was howling outside, so I got out the blanket, the remote control and the Cadets-Middie clash. That stupid game always gets me, man. Always. The all-encompassing effort, the meaning attached to each player, the damn alma maters in front of each student section -- I've got no shot at making it through that game dry.

My late grandpa was career Navy, Pops was in the Navy ... and me? Well, if I wasn't so anchored to my cushy suburban life growing up, who knows? You know, riding in my rich friends' cars in high school to keg parties, listening to the ska tunes of our choice, then later having my parents pay my way through UCLA -- if not for all that, why, hell, yes, man, I woulda been in the Navy, too!

Anyway, got a little sentimental watching our brave young lads tussle in Philly, given that these guys are, like, 800 percent more man than I'll ever be. You know how it is.

It's easy to get swept away by the emotions of an Army-Navy game.
Then caught the Oregon-Oregon State game. Could care less about either school. But I checked out Joey Harrington -- who seems like one of the all-time good guys -- taking long, savoring looks through a rainy Eugene sky while Autzen Stadium went kooky for his final introduction. Then Keith Jackson -- who I want to narrate all things in life -- said, "There's enough energy in this place to move mountains." Got a little sentimental there, too.

Then I figured, what the hell: I went for the Sniffle Hat Trick on Sunday night. I cued up "Brian's Song" on ABC. Why not? The Niners were firmly in control in the Sunday night game, and it just seemed like that sort of weekend.

Man, I shouldn't have. I read all the reviews, saying how it shouldn't have been remade, and how the original was the all-time best, and how you could never beat Billy Dee and Jimmy Caan. And you know what? They were right. The remake wasn't as good.

Which is why I was so ticked off when somebody must have spilled some water in our living room during Gale Sayers' "I love Brian Piccolo" speech. And why I was so frosted when somebody left our window open and some rain got on the floor during the scene where George Halas tells Brian he's paying for everything. And why I really got peeved that somebody left a bunch of wrinkled Kleenex on our coffee table at the end, when Brian and his wife say their goodbyes, and when Gale comes in for his final talk with Brian, promising to meet at next year's training camp.

See? There's no crying at The Cooler.

As for those sniffles you hear? Hey, those are allergies, man. Allergies.

With that, an entirely unemotional List of Five:

1. The Irish make the move
Bob Davie
Bob Davie might have had the saddest weekend of all.
Wait, Notre Dame fired its coach? Well, of course they should have! I mean, Dan Devine wasn't even going to let Rudy play until all the seniors turned their jerseys in, right? That guy doesn't deserve to lead the Golden Domers anywhere.

Oh, sorry. "Brian's Song" had me on my Crying Movie Thought Train.

(Quick aside: "Rudy" isn't one of the all-time Cry Movies. Really. It can't hold "Bang the Drum Slowly" 's jock. Or "Field of Dreams." Or "Rocky." To me, the only legit scene in that flick was when Rudy finally got his acceptance letter and read it out by that lake. That was a nice scene. Well-done. And, in another aside, the flick should be praised for giving us Jon Favreau, who deserves some serious mention for both "PCU" and "Swingers." Other than that, I'll put Rudy in my Sixth Man category -- doesn't make the Cry Movie starting five.)

As for Notre Dame football: Bob Davie? Come on, man. The guy did not have the goods. Get rid of him. Good move. Now ... the idea of Steve Mariucci or Jon Gruden in that gig fires me up. Big-time. Make it happen, Kevin White.

2. U2 ... How could you do this to me?
One week after I lay down The Cooler Law, I get kneecapped by the news that U2 is playing the halftime show of the Super Bowl.

Brutal, Juice. Brutal.

U2 performing at halftime of the Super Bowl? Say it isn't so, lads.
To me, the enduring axiom is simple: You play an NFL-sanctioned event, you suck. You blow. You reek. Get out of my Music Life now, and forever more. I love the NFL for the idea of Jim Brown, Joe Montana and Brett Favre. I don't love it for halftime shows. Creed, Third Eye Blind, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy -- I thought I made this perfectly clear last week.

Now, the band I would easily consider the best of my lifetime (with a quickly-written apology note to The Clash and The Police) is going Tags on me.

I really don't know how to process this. Give me some time to mourn, OK? I'll get back to you on this.

3. He Was a Beatle, Man!
I can't believe I was about to fire off a List of Five and not drop my head briefly for the passing of George Harrison. Truth told, I was fully prepared to diss The Quiet Beatle, but it turns out I crossed the line on an item involving Phil Fullmer and Jill Arrington and management got involved and ... well, let's just say cooler heads prevailed. I couldn't make my list just a Fab Four, so I had to write about a member of same.

But it gave me an opportunity to pay homage to G. Harrison. I'll be straight: While I had deep admiration for the work of the Liverpool Lads, I probably couldn't pick George Harrison out of a police lineup. Fact is, I couldn't. I go to a Monday night pub trivia game here in San Francisco, and one of the rounds is Picture Identification. One of the mug shots two weeks ago was of Harrison, and all me and my pal could come up with was ... who? Rowan Atkinson? Some Irish actor? Some limey whose name we couldn't come up with? Turns out it was the man whose guitar gently wept. Quiet, indeed.

So that's two Beatles down. No other way to see that than a total downer. Since I live in the Haight-Ashbury, I must smile in bidding adieu to George, who visited the neighborhood in 1967 and described its denizens as "hideous, spotty little teenagers."

And look! Out the window! Here comes the sun.

4. How can you play my boy Malik like that?
All right, so I admitted: The rains kept me inside this weekend, and that meant Army-Navy, Oregon-OSU, Broncos-Dolphins, Rams-Falcons and ... of course, "The Real World" marathon on MTV.

Setting aside the fact that this supposed piece of pop anthropology -- I do believe I heard a self-important MTV VJ once call it "part of our cultural wallpaper" during one of the early reunion shows -- has now degenerated into its inevitable state of kids getting drunk, naked and laid ... how can they do my boy Malik like that?

Ye who watched know whereof I speak. They go out to the Hamptons, Malik -- the dude with the Oscar Gamble 'fro -- is giving his all to Gisela ... and Gisela clowns him! Big-time! That sister had issues, man. I'm telling you.

George W. Bush
George W. Bush has been hitting all the right notes recently.
She was straight-up wack, and I will always give much love to Coral for bringing it to her grill.

Man, I'm so worked up about this, I need to go to The Confessional and get some things off my chest.

5. Army-Navy: Bringing it home
Is it me, or has G.W. Bush gone from School Mascot -- the guy on whom you put the "Kick Me" sign -- to Varsity Starter, or what? I think it started with Bush firing that strike from 60-feet-6 in the World Series before Game 3. A clutch effort, and one that began the re-evaluation process for sports fans everywhere who voted Gore.

Then, his post at the coin toss for Army-Navy reinforced it. The guy is hitting all the right notes. The pregame speech, the whole bit. Jeez, man. Without knee-jerk first impressions where we can write a man off, what are we left with?

Now don't mind me. I'm going back to the TV and firing up my DVD of "Pride of the Yankees." See, Lou Gehrig has this disease and ... aw, never mind.

Just pass the Kleenex.

Brian Murphy of the San Francisco Chronicle writes the "Weekend Water Cooler" every week for Page 2.



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