An Ode to Eli Manning

The end of Eli is the end of my childhood.

In the beginning of my sports fandom, I saw Reyes, Beltr├ín, Wright, and…Stephon Marbury

And I saw Eli Manning

The story of Eli is one of brotherhood

Not of his affable but creepy and irritating older brother,

But as the brother, or uncle, or cousin of every Giants fan

Because you were part of the family, Eli

For 210 fall weekends, you were a beloved guest on my television

When the Giants were in the Super Bowl, I refused to watch at a friend’s house because this most important of contests had to be experienced at home, with my mother and father and siblings

And you won it both times.

But now your watch has ended in favor of Geno Smith

which I cannot fathom

And now I am no longer a child, for all my sports heroes have been unceremoniously ejected from the team, suspended for domestic violence, played for the Yankees, or had spinal stenosis

For a while, when the Giants were floundering in 2015 and 2017, I wondered if you were the problem, but I would never dare give up

on a family member

on the friendly uncle at the beach

I couldn’t give up on the guy who was the subject of so many angry/ecstatic phone calls to my friends and family

I couldn’t give up on a team legend, and the last vestige of my childhood sports fandom, the purer, un-jaded form of support.

But Ben McAdoo (who I commonly refer to as Bob, because he doesn’t deserve his real name)

he doesn’t think like that

who even is geno smith

what even is a davis webb

I am sorry, Eli. You deserved an ending worthy of what you accomplished.

But perhaps, in a way, this is fitting. You were never larger-than-life. That made you great.

Farewell, for now.



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