Friday, October 28, 2011

How to Ty Cobbs together

Picture of Ty Cobb, for no good reason
This past spring and summer, people whose job it is to worry about the National Football League were all upset because they were certain that the game would be ruined by the new rule which moved the kickoff line up by five yards.  "With no more runbacks, a lot of the excitement of the game will be lost," they moaned.

Randall "Not Tex" Cobb
That notion was dispelled in the opening day of the season when rookie Randall Cobb of the Packers  ran back a third-quarter kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown. And if you want to feel a bit older, please read this:  my Lord, Randall is the first NFL player born in the 1990s. (August 22, 1990) Now will someone please make room on the recliner?  After reading that bit of news,"I'm wearied wi hunting, and fain wad lie down," as they say in sunny Scotland.

You see, there's a poem, "Lord Randall," and there's Randall Cobb the ball player, and then there's Randall "Tex" Cobb, the fighter and actor. Some forty years before RC of the Packers made his run to the end zone, Randall Craig "Tex" Cobb was brought forth into this world in Bridge City, Texas.  He became a boxer and kickboxer at about the same time that America became enchanted with the Rocky legend of the Stallone movies.  (As an aside, please try to catch the documentary "The Real Rocky" on ESPN, about the legendary Chuck "The Bayonne Bleeder" Wepner, a former boxer who claims that the Rocky story is based on his life. Since that story, no matter its provenance, has earned billions of dollars for Stallone, Wepner feels he is due a little slice of that pie.  "No, I don't think so, you know what I'm saying to you here?" is Stallone's reply.)

In November 1982, a Korean boxer named Duk Koo Kim was killed in a bout with American pugilist Ray Mancini, leading to discussions about the violent nature of a sport in which two men get into a square "ring" and slug the hell out of each other.  (In high school, "Boxing" is known as "Locker room.") Then, in a nationally televised fight, "Tex" Cobb fought the champion, Larry Holmes, at the Astrodome for the World Heavyweight Title on the 26th of that month.  Those who saw the fight will never forget it.  Holmes slugged, slammed, hit and pummeled Cobb for fifteen rounds, and it was like a child trying to bring down an Frigidaire refrigerator/freezer.  I can't say that Cobb ever landed a punch on the champ, but he stood there like the Colossus of Rhodes all through the fight.  Sure he lost every round on two of the three judges' cards, and 14 out of 15 on that of the third, but he was still standing at the end!  Bloodied, battered and unbowed, he was.  The other predominant memory of most sports fans from that night was Howard Cosell's commentary, a ceaseless diatribe against the sport that was paying him a pretty penny to cover it, and his vow to have nothing to do with the sport henceforth, which Cobb still calls his gift to boxing. 

That wrapped up Cobb's boxing career, but he went on to even greater acclaim, playing the part of Leonard Smalls, The Lone Biker of the Apocalypse, in the movie "Raising Arizona."  I tell you, the man was a great actor, and the look in his eyes when he realized that Nicolas Cage had pulled the pin on a grenade was priceless.  In fact, he really blew up over it. So good was he at acting that I really thought it was he who rained body parts and boots all over the scene right after that.

That wrapped up Cobb's acting career, and I don't know why.  I read that he kept a promise to his mother, went back to college, and graduated magna cum laude from Temple University in 2008. His degree is in recreation and sports management.  I think it would be the perfect thing for young Randall of the Packers to hire old "Tex" as an advisor.  Can someone look into that, please?

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