Have you ever watched some of the Browns programs on SportsTime Ohio? I admit to having seen a few minutes here and there of The Berea Report, but never had I seen the Browns Red Zone program until late last night. In the middle of the night I had to let my dog out to go to the bathroom, only to discover the dog had in fact gotten into the trash. Now angry and somewhat awake, I flipped through the channels and came across Jim Donovan, Tony Grossi and Doug Dieken sitting at a desk taking phone calls.
Donovan was loud and somewhat perky as usual, and Grossi calmly sat there and answered questions from fans. Doug Dieken was leaning forward, hands on the desk looking like he would rather be anywhere else in the world than at that desk, and on that show. And I remembered where I had seen that look before.
The look is a bit more intense than say the look of a high school senior at the begining of May, but the level of disgust is about the same. It is more intense because unlike the 18 year student, the person wearing this look feels somewhat trapped and hopeless. Perhaps the story will help explain the look.
Some years ago I was at the Belden Village Mall in North Canton. (The name has since changed I know, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it is now.) I happened to walk in the mall on sports card and memorabilia day. Always a pleasant surprise I made my way around the tables and looked at the merchandise. I was rounding a corner close to the food court when I saw the look. It was being worn by a man that looked to be in his late 30′s or early 40′s. He was an athletic looking bald man sitting behind a table with memorabilia on it. The person looked familiar, but I couldn’t quite place him.
Standing on the other side of the table was another man. He was much more nonathletic looking, with bags and card collecting boxes under his arms. He wore glasses and had a very ‘nerdish’ look to him. There was one very outstanding feature on this man. His mouth. It never stopped. He just kept talking, and talking, and talking.
I surveyed the table of merchandise. It was filled with old wrestling photos and cards. Mostly from the WWF glory days. Then it hit me. The man sitting behind the table wearing the look…was Virgil the Bodyguard. He was one of the Million Dollar Man’s crew that eventually had a few matches of his own. He wasn’t a particularly good wrestler, and certainly didn’t obtain the kind of fame that a lot of guys from that era did. He was apparently trying to make every last dollar he could from his time in the ring, and this little card show in Northern Ohio was just the next stop for him. But I’ll always remember that look. It was the look of a man begging for a different circumstance. He wanted to be anywhere but that card show on a Saturday afternoon, and he certainly didn’t want to have to listen to some stranger talk about every match that he had ever watched before. But that was his lot now.
That was the same look I saw in Doug Dieken’s eyes last night. No way he wanted to talk at length about Mangini and whether or not he should be fired, or whether or not he had “lost the team” with another fan. But he had to. Time and time again. Each calling somehow finding a new angle to come back to the same problems and the same questions.
Someone rescue Doug, he’s had enough!