TRUE LOVE HAS
I was in the airport bookstore a few weeks ago, browsing for
a trashy novel, when my eyes flashed on an old love, staring at me from
the cover. It was Joe Montana and the book was "Montana, the
Biography of Football's Joe Cool."
Memories came flooding back as I leafed through the
pages. First it was just a man crush, and then a full fledged bromance. I
thought about all the wonderful years we spent together back in the 80's
and 90's, and my heart swelled once again.
"You're not buying that book!" my wife gasped when
I met her at the register and sheepishly showed her my purchase. "I
thought you'd moved on."
I could understand her jealousy, and perhaps I could have
been more sensitive instead of parading an old love right in her face. But
I was so overwhelmed with memories of Joe's and my time together that I
didn't really care about anything else at the moment.
I finished the book a few days ago. I relived all our
intimate moments, from "The Catch" to the four Super Bowl
Championships engineered by the man I love. And I anguished once again
over the bone-crushing hits, the losses, and the injuries. Good times and
bad, like any relationship.
When I turned the last page before falling asleep, I let out
a big sigh. "I miss him," I said to my wife. "He was
She moved a few feet farther away, which wasn't easy.
"What is it with you and your man crushes?" she asked. "I
never have any women crushes."
Jealousy is never pretty. I let her know she'd always be the
number one woman in my life. That didn't go over well. And then I let her
know that my man crushes were few and far between. I certainly didn't cat
In fact, besides Joe Cool, I could count only four
relationships in my entire lifetime. It started in high school, of course,
with the release of "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," my
favorite movie. Yes, it was a threesome with Paul Newman and Robert
Redford, and I'm not embarrassed to admit it.
I watched most of their subsequent movies, but they would
always be Butch and Sundance to me. It was a package deal, and it lasted
But lest you think I was enamored by youth and looks, my next
love showed my range. Yes, I fell for an older man, Mikhail Gorbachev, who
dismantled the Soviet Union and ended the Cold War.
He wasn't particularly handsome, but Micky (that was my pet
name for him) had other things going for him, like saving the world. And I
always thought that birthmark on his forehead was kind of cute.
Then there were some flings, but nothing substantial. Most
recently, I had a man crush on Barack Obama, especially when I learned his
two favorite pastimes were basketball and body surfing, which mirrored
mine. There's still a spark there, but I'm not sure it's going anywhere.
Once he leaves office, it will probably be gone.
Then, of course, there's my current man crush on Steve Kerr,
the Golden State Warriors head coach. Smart, funny, great athlete,
fascinating background growing up in the Middle East……he's my kind of
guy. It's definitely a budding bromance, but it probably depends on
whether he can bring home one or two more championships. Hate to put the
pressure on him, but that's life.
But while all those men have a special place in my heart, it
all comes back to Joe Cool. As a native San Franciscan growing up watching
the 49ers lose year after year, Montana came into my life and brought
years of joy. And with his infectious smile and admirable humility, it was
impossible not to love him.
"Do you love me as much as you love Joe Montana?" asked
my wife, I think kiddingly, as I turned off the reading light.
I should have answered right away, but I thought about it for
awhile. It was definitely different. She couldn't throw a spiral, but then
again, she had many other attributes that were in her favor.
"It was a long time ago and I'm over him," I lied.
"As you suggested, I've moved on. You'll always be number one."
At least until the NBA championship in June.