Wednesday, January 13, 2016

On David Bowie and the Rams

It's been a real weird week. Maybe it's mostly because I'm on my third day of getting garbage sleep. Maybe it's because it finally is gray and overcast like winter should be. Maybe it's the stress of coming back from the holidays. This week has really messed me up with things I cannot control.

I woke up Monday to the news that David Bowie died.

I love his music, but I love what Bowie made cool more. He made it OK to be weird. He made it OK to challenge what was normal and to make people squirm. He told his sci-fi stories with some of the greatest music ever written. And from all the musical personalities from the 60s and 70s, Bowie seemed to have the least inflated ego.

I remember the first time I heard David Bowie. It was for an Apollo 13 trailer. I remember seeing the rocket take off in the trailer and the chorus of Space Oddity swelled, "This is ground control to Major Tom, you've really made the grade and the papers want to know whose shirts you wear..."

I remember being incredibly affected by a commercial and I remember that hook haunting me for days.

It was almost a decade later when David Bowie came into my life again. I was working at a restaurant and one of the prep cooks made a mixed CD. I wandered back to refill some of the veggies up front and Life on Mars was blaring. I stopped dead in my tracks and looked at the prep cook and demanded to know who it was.

The moment I got off my shift, I walked to the used CD store down the street and purchased 5 Bowie albums.

I guess the thing that hit me so hard about his death was that I just assumed Bowie existed. He wasn't a living being. He was a space man that existed outside of time and convention.

And I imagine when his Earthly body did cease to exist, he merely turned to star dust and floated to the ether.

And then there's the moving of the Rams. I'm not a huge American football fan, in fact I find it mostly boring. (Something I didn't realize until I saw a game live) I enjoy the community of football. I like going out and splitting a bucket of beers and having some appetizers.

I found out the Rams were leaving while at the Blues game last night. It felt like a gut punch.

It felt like a gut punch because this billionaire held my city hostage for years. We gave him tax breaks, we built him a stadium, we bent over backwards to build him another stadium, and offered more tax breaks.

He never appeared in the media. He never did community outreach. He never met with our leaders trying to come up with a compromise to keep the Rams in St. Louis.

Kroenke had made up his mind years ago. The millions he was making in St. Louis wasn't as much as the millions of millions he could make in LA.

He then filed a scathing report about St. Louis. About how terrible of a city we are. How terrible of a sports town. How no one wanted to support a team that hasn't had a winning season in a decade. A team that had threatened to leave for years. And even though the merchandise sales, the ticket sales, the TV ratings, the Wall Street Journal all pointed to the contradiction, he filed this report.

And even though Kroenke reportedly pissed off many of the NFL's owners by skirting NFL rules about relocation and owning more than one sports franchise, they saw slightly more money on a table and they went ahead and approved this billionaire who was kicking his feet, whining, to move his team and get his way.

And the Kroenke had a press conference talking about how this is partially to help those less fortunate people in Inglewood. How he is going to revitalize a dead part of LA.

Two of the reasons he used for why he needed to move to St. Louis.

The Rams brought some people downtown. They brought money from Chicago and Kansas City into our city. The players themselves were fantastic, always doing whatever charity they could. Despite many people being angry about it, they took a very public stand during the Ferguson protests. The Rams employed a few hundred passionate St. Louisians.

St. Louis loses a lot in the short term.

The entirety of Scottrade Center last night started chanting "Kroenke sucks" as soon as the Post Dispatch email blast went out.

And as if on queue, Ryan Reeves took on the entire Devil's line and just started fighting people and winning. The stadium needed that release. We've had this cloud over our heads for five years now and together last night, we started the grieving process together.

There's already talks about the Raiders or Jaguars moving to St. Louis. There's talk about diverting those Rams tax breaks to building a MLS stadium or aquarium. I guess the only thing to say is the future is unwritten and despite the heartbreak and unfairness of everything, it's a little exciting to know there are possibilities in the future.