Recently, New York Times’ columnist Maureen Dowd described how, having retreated from her football-crazed family on holidays with Jane Austen for years, she finally learned to love football thanks to RGIII (Redskins QB Robert Griffin III), whom she likened to Austen’s heroine Lizzie Bennet.
Maureen, I know just what you mean. I, too, came late to football, beguiled by another quarterback, Tim Tebow (although I think he’s more of a Jamesian heroine, a naïf done in by manipulators). I’m also fond of the doe-eyed Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers, though I’m not sure which literary heroine he resembles, possibly someone out of Hardy.
Anyway, despite my uncles and male cousins’ best efforts to instill in me a youthful understanding of the merits of Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers, I must confess that I still don’t know what a down is. You say “down,” and I think “comforter.” And yet, that has not stopped me and our intrepid Waggers from tackling the gridiron in our super-duper “Super Power” issue, anchored by our salute to the first Super Bowl in our area.
To that end, we have an interview with Al Kelly, the Harrison executive who’s spearheading the 2014 NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee, and a profile of a Super Bowl MVP and analyst who’s also a local hero to the Greenwich that nurtured him, Steve Young.
Young is part of our tribute to Greenwich High School and its stellar launch of a Sports Hall of Fame that features ground-breaking Olympic ice hockey star Sue Merz. The Milford resident in turn represents another theme in this issue, a homage to the Winter Games that includes cover guy Johnny Weir, the flamboyant figure skater/fashionisto who says he’s taking it down a notch now that he’s a commentator for Stamford-based NBC Sports’ Olympic coverage.
You know us: We’re perfectly capable of picking up the “super” ball and running with it. So you’ll find a super package on gold (King Tut’s relationship to the returning “Downton Abbey”), silver (Tiffany’s trophy lives, including the Super Bowl’s Vince Lombardi Trophy) and bronze (Valley Cottage sculptor Eric David Laxman, who loves to work in metal).
There’s a superb milliner, Susan Saas; a superlative neurologist, Javier Cardenas, who’s trying to lessen head trauma in the NFL; superhero movies; and a mentalist, Marc Salem, who says his superpowers are more about super power.
And speaking of superpowers, we weigh in on the always sticky Russo-American relationship that’s been so good for culture (think Van Cliburn, Bobby Fischer and Boris Badenov) while former New York Times’ Managing Editor Seymour Topping considers the next superpower, China.
Topping is one of the new additions to WAG, along with celebrity reporter Heather Salerno, who profiles Weir here, and wine guy Doug Paulding. But as with any arrivals there are departures, and so we bid a fond adieu to Martha Handler and Jennifer Pappas, our own Class & Sass, as they pursue other ventures. We thank them for bringing their own “Ab Fab” style to the magazine and wish them continued success and happiness.
So, new Waggers and a new theme that we plan to riff on in this our power year.
Finally, if I may be permitted a personal note, you’ll notice that our website, wagmag.com, links you to my new blog, The Games Men Play, which is also the name of a series of sports-themed novels I’m writing. The first, “Water Music,” coming out Jan. 14, deals with four gay athletes and the way their professional fortunes color their personal relationships.
It’s a story about how sports mirror politics and how the past bleeds into the present. But mostly it’s about how we learn to live with loss through love.
And love is what I wish for all of you in the new year.