I’m not into sports. You might be saying to yourselves, “But Chris, you’re talking about a sports figure”. True, believe it or not, I use to have my teams. The New York Yankees and The New York Giants. The extent of my sports involvement was watching friends play Madden for each release (40 of them?!). The man was an icon in sportscasting. So, when I heard of his passing, my mind went to what I knew best; comedy.
Comedy? Back in the day (around ‘95/‘96), I wanted to write and perform sketches with my friends. Inspired by the likes of SNL, Mad TV and The State, we would call ourselves, “Institution”. Problem was, the “we” consisted of myself and my brother, Shane. Just a few members shy of a group. That didn’t stop us from writing sketches. To us, it didn’t matter that we didn’t have the means to record ourselves. We wrote. Work with what ya got, right?
One of the skits we wrote, that I’m most proud of, was a wide shot of a football field. On each side, a team itching to attack. One side yells, “D*ck!”, the other responds with “P*ssy!” and they crash together. Quick cut to John Madden at a chalk board saying, “…and BOOM, that’s where babies come from…”
We pan back from the board to see “Health Class 101” written at the top and underneath is a football play with ex’s, oh’s and lines scribbled on it. Transition with Madden still speaking gibberish to the students, we see a young boy sitting in the back of the class, writhing in his seat. It looks like he’s doing something under his desk. His surrounding classmates are giggling, thinking he’s “enjoying” the subject matter a little TOO much. The boy’s struggle seems to build and build…UNTIL…relief! Out from under his desk, his hands emerge with a white substance covering them.
A touch of embarrassment washes over him. He hopes his disgusted classmates won’t tell the teacher what he’s done. He takes a lick of his hands and goes back under his desk. This time he comes up with a yogurt cup with a torn foil lid.
And that’s my look back at what John Madden meant to me, the non-sports guy. An icon that can unearth a memory from almost 30 years. I’m sure you aren’t looking to me for a sports memoriam. Are you? Sorry to disappoint you if you were.