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Christine M. Flowers: Sports: The agony & the ecstasy

MY friend Christopher sent me a text on Tuesday morning saying "it's a shame you're not a sportswriter with so much going on these days!"

MY friend Christopher sent me a text on Tuesday morning saying "it's a shame you're not a sportswriter with so much going on these days!"

This came mere hours after the news broke about Cliff Lee returning to the Phillies. Strangely enough, I'd already been thinking about how sports is a metaphor for everything I normally write about: love, political wrangling, anger, arrogance, defeat, hope and spitting into the wind (or on a wife).

So I don't think you need to be a Hall of Fame writer with years covering the doings in the dugout to have an opinion about all the crazy, magnificent events that have happened over the last few days. And I'm a heck of a lot more interested in the guys wearing uniforms than the suits in D.C., who are either yelling obscenities at each other or, worse, getting all crunchy-feely with their "No Labels" campaign for alleged civility.

Who needs civility when you can diss New York? So let's begin:


As most of us were counting premature sugar plums Tuesday morning, the ex-Phils' ace who brought us to the brink of a repeat World Series in 2009 blew a Big Raspberry at the Big Apple.

Rejecting tens of millions of dollars and the chance to pitch in the House that Babe Built (rebuilt version), Lee chose to come back to a city that sometimes may not show much brotherly love - but definitely adored him.

No one can forget how upset fans were at Ruben Amaro's decision to trade Lee to Seattle in order to acquire the equally heroic Roy Halladay.

Some were in tears. And Lee remembered that. He loved the city back, and realized that while money is always something, it isn't everything. This came as a surprise to the Yankees, for whom money isn't everything (as Vince Lombardi might say), it's the only thing. What's that's so wonderful about this story is the human face it puts on a sometimes inhuman race - the one for acquisition and fame.

Lee could have hit the jackpot in a city that would've loved him as long as he danced to its tune. Instead, he chose to come back to a city that loved him regardless. Because while Philly fans complain when our players fall short of the mark, their love is mostly unconditional. Except, of course, for the Pat Burrell corollary, which holds that if you act like a jerk when you return in another uniform, you'd better duck.



New Yorkers are such classy people. The list of their, ahem, accomplishments is longer than the list of Kate Hudson's boy toys. As alluded to above, it is rumored that one of the reasons Lee decided to turn his back on the Yankees was the way the team's fans treated his wife, sending a luger in her direction during the ACLS this year.

But worse than getting spat upon is getting deliberately tripped up by an opposing team's trainer, which is exactly what happened to Miami Dolphins kick returner Nolan Carroll on Sunday. Pathetic paisano Sal Aloser, I mean Alosi, a New York Jets assistant, actually stuck his knee in the runner's path, causing him to fall to the ground in pain.

Suspended for the season, Alosi should have been charged with assault. But I suppose that's just normal behavior in New York. And you need another reason for the Phil-Lee phenomenon?



Perhaps using any variation of the word "dog" in connection with the Michael Vick-led Eagles is inappropriate, but humor me.

DeSean Jackson is quickly becoming a force of nature, racking up more than 200 yards with only four receptions during his most recent star turn. So I think he's earned the right to get a little "in your face" in the end zone. Especially against Dallas.

All of those dismayed elders of the game who think he's an arrogant punk need to loosen up and realize that joy is expressed in many ways, and the days of gridiron stoicism are over. Hey, at least he didn't trip anyone. And that 15-yard penalty was from a rule book on Uranus.



The streak is over.

So, probably, is a legendary career, one that comes around about as frequently as Haley's Comet. It is hard to think of another player of this generation who so completely personifies his sport like Brett Favre.

And while it hasn't all been a seamless and pure trajectory, this is one comet that lit up the sky like no other. I think I just saw it arching over the skies at Canton.

Christine M. Flowers is a lawyer.