And once again as seasonal winds gust and twist leaves to bust into orange and red plush, vivacious, courageous gratification instantaneous! yes fans Turkey is back for its 11th rendition. Already a fire storm of controversy has been ignited by Turkeys usual lightning rode and T.O., Carl Easton he has informed us he's only to be referred to as C-Rat. Making many an off the field comment recently he shuns critics and doesn't seem to want to open up any further issues he's barked about recently.
"Look I'm focused on the game right now, I want a W, I've let my fans down these last two years, ringless." Glazing over game time climate, favorite routes, magic, end zone dancing, I want to entice him in his fist live interview since the controversy, as a reporter I can't let this boil over. So I engage him -
"Look I don't want to talk about the Hatfield stuff, that was off the field personal obviously he's not a factor on game day so that's it." I haven't had the chance to sit down with Easton in quite sometime what used to be my favorite interview has diminished like many others. I need a spark so I twist the gist of the conversation to reflection of Turkeys past, the early years, Santo and Hayden. This as I thought it would seems to spark a point of reflection in my old buddy.
"Yeah I think the game has changed a bit. You know with the glitter, charity, fans, kegs and everything else it certainly has changed just like all sports in general." When probed what he misses most what been lost and gained he becomes a bit more insightful,
"You know I think now its not so much the game as much as its a testament to a group of would be legends that have stuck together. Through the nit and the grit been through some ill shit, you know what I'm sayen? So for me the game was always the best, it was the game that kept me writing and in the gym and I just think now its become commercialized. You know cats that ain't founding fathers getting outrageous with shit that you know, I mean we all done put this together but obviously certain dudes pull more weight and that's just how shit shakes out."
Obviously I've hit a spot in this first exclusive since the blood bath and I don't want to stifle.
"So for me, you know mad off the field problems and everything else I'm really going to try to take it back to the game to the grit. You know like Hank Shuman, hes been running in these showdowns before it was even a league, I'm talken straight 12, 13 years old- so you know he being so down and old school just sprung from the joint, I'm goen really enjoy being out there on the field with Hank. You know because he was an original soldier cat that kept us in the press and was always balling, hitting kids, scrapping, looking out for us, UNLV, having our back, thats what the shit is about. So for a guy like that comen back, you know I'm reading all this movie shit and everything else and no one mentions my man, so its just reminds me how shit has changed, people grown up, families, money, jobs and shit but for me its not about any of that. Its about keeping my crew together, hoping they can be the best people they can be and for one afternoon take it back to ground level Shawshak style."
There was something mesmerizing in his words atop the roof of the Hotel Washington in DC and listening to him speak I couldn't help but think peering down at his emerald cufflinks that he did OK too. Having covered Turkeys since the early nineties I sensed urgency, anger and hope in his voice. Listening to his stream of consciousness I too remembered for a second what this was all about. Having seen a decline in so much of the Turkey reporting I knew my old friend c-rat would cook up summer in the winter once again. Plus I think him dedicating his Turkey again to his Godfather and to Hank Shumans triumphant return and prayer for sobriety is fitting. In my eyes no matter what they say, who he's burned and his always changing public view I putting my money on C-Rat, whatever team hes on and thank him sincerely for all of his early efforts in keeping this event going and helping his small bit to transmogrify this circus into the star studded media frenzy it is today.
See you Saturday, it should be interesting. Welcome back Hank.