It leave me

The XFL belongs to the ages now, and we're left with only our memories, if we can remember any.

Published May 11, 2001 7:00PM (EDT)

I can't believe the XFL is gone. I grew up with that league. What have they done to my memories?

Remember how we got up close and personal with the players? And the cheerleaders. Huh? Huh? You know what I'm talking about. Remember those intimate halftime conversations we got to eavesdrop on? We'd hear the coach say, "OK, guys, let's go!" and a player say, "Where's my other shoe?" You don't get that kind of insider stuff with any old sports league.

Remember that guy who had "He Hate Me" on the back of his jersey? He was my favorite player on the ... uh, whatever team he was on. I don't know if I can do without the sporting wisdom of Gov. Jesse Ventura every week. Or that guy with the cowboy hat. And Vince McMahon! What will we do without Vince McMahon on TV anymore?

Are we Xpected to just forget about our favorite teams? How will we replace the Xcitement in our lives? What will National Engineers Week be every February without that traditional Los Angeles Xtreme-Memphis Maniax game? Is there one among you who hasn't lived and died with one team or the other in the XFL's Mafia Bowl, the Chicago Enforcers vs. the New York-New Jersey-Rhode Island-New Mexico-Connecticut-South Dakota-Florida Hitmen?

Who can forget Saturday nights spent in front of the TV, sitting down to watch a Birmingham Thunderbolts-Orlando Rage tilt, then being distracted by a "Brady Bunch" marathon over on Nickelodeon and missing the second and third quarters, and then switching back and forth between the fourth quarter and that lost-in-the-Grand Canyon episode? Remember? Huh? You know what I'm talking about.


I remember going to a San Francisco Demons game against the Maniax with my dad. When I heard that the World Wrestling Federation had pulled the plug on the league I called him up, because the XFL is all about fathers and sons. "Remember that playoff game we went to, Dad?" I said, trying not to let him hear the catch in my throat. "Remember how you put your hands on my shoulders and guided me through the crowd after the game was over?"

And my dad said, "Remember it? It was two months ago, you idiot. And I had to guide you through the crowd because you were drunk off your ass like usual. Now leave me alone. I'm watching 'Surprise Wedding 2.' How did you get this number?"

Gone. All gone. I can't believe it. I don't know if I can subsist on the meager football offerings that remain. Sure, there's the NFL, but that only goes from August to the end of January. Aside from that there's only arena football and NFL Europe and the Canadian Football League and college football. It's a drought. I mean, there are more reality TV shows than there are football leagues now, and we all know there aren't nearly enough reality TV shows.

But I'm not bitter. I'm not mad. I might have had a bad break with this XFL folding, but I've got an awful lot to live for. As I contemplate the demise of my beloved commercially unviable sporting enterprise, the words of that "He Hate Me" guy, or whoever it was, ring in my ears. He spoke for me when he said, "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

By King Kaufman

King Kaufman is a senior writer for Salon. You can e-mail him at king at salon dot com. Facebook / Twitter / Tumblr

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