Wednesday, May 21, 2008
A few weeks ago, my 8-year-old's class did a project called the Wax Museum.
The kids had to pick somebody from the history books and give a little oral presentation while dressed like the person they picked.
The teacher requested that they had to pick somebody from the past. The person couldn't be presently famous. The note sent home to us parents basically explained that they didn't won't little Hannah Montanas or the cast of High School Musical running around the halls.
My son labored long and hard over who would be the subject of his biography whittling it down to two people: John Bonham or John Riggins.
Growing up with a father who was a high school football referee and a season-ticket holding Skins fan, Riggins is a figure of mythical proportions in my household. He was one of the original NFL wingnuts who didn't give a fuck about the status quo. With a country boy work ethic and a punk rock attitude, Riggins has always been a personal hero of mine, so when my son was doing his research I gladly saddled up with him to scour the internet for info or to search YouTube for classic clips of Riggins.
I still get goosebumps when I watch Riggins break free on fourth down and rumble to a touchdown against the Dolphins in Super Bowl VXII - a play that has gone down in the annuals of NFL history as one of the greatest ever.
But I also loved the fact that he had the balls to not only sport a Afro but also a mohawk.
And or course there's the "Lighten up Sandy" episode where a drunken Riggo told Supreme Court Justice Sandra O'Conner to relax and enjoy the banquet party they both were attending only to "fall asleep" on the floor later in the evening.
But despite my enthusiasm for Riggins, Zeppelin's drummer still won over my son's heart.
Again, here we have another dude who didn't give a rat's ass about the public perception of him and did whatever the hell he wanted to do. At least Riggins is still alive; it was a challenge trying to explain how some old rock star died chocking on his own vomit (which, by the way, is not something you hear of anymore but was all the rage back in the day).
The obvious thing to do here would be to show a clip of Bonham doing his hand drumming during "Moby Dick" but instead I'll leave you with a little Riggo.
Long Live The Diesel!