Evidently, there’s no room for “hate” — not so much the emotion, but the very word itself — or even anything approximating it — like “revenge,” and how it ties to the Broncos’ first game against the Pittsburgh Steelers since last January’s AFC Championship loss.
“Revenge is like hate. Such a dirty word, isn’t it?” said safety Nick Ferguson.
Nick, you sound like my father.
Dad’s admonishment was to replace any potential use of “hate” with the unwieldy but civilized “don’t particularly care for.” The result was a six-year-old informing his fellow first-graders in elderly Mrs. Gray’s classroom at a suburban Richmond, Va. grammar school that he “didn’t particularly care for the Dallas Cowboys.” Slacked jaws ensued.
(Exclamatory substitution is not unusual, nor is it something foreign to pro football. Seven years ago, Mike Ditka similarly castigated and cajoled his New Orleans Saints to stop screaming obscenities and substitute “Praise the Lord!” whenever they felt the urge to curse.)
Even now, if I do drop “hate” into conversation, it’s usually unwarranted, certainly unjustified for a relatively tranquil moment. “I hate his choice of words.” … “I hate that this happened to her.” … “I hate this printer; I want to go Michael Bolton on it.”
If semantics were mathematics, “hate” = “revenge” to Ferguson, and neither is worth uttering.
Defensive tackle Demetrin Veal: “Not revenge, because you still have a long season left, so you can’t say revenge.”
Cornerback Domonique Foxworth: “It’s still a game. Revenge is a tough word to use, but whenever you lose to a team, you definitely have a salty taste in your mouth, and you want to get it out. Winning’s the only way to do that.”
But if we dare use the word revenge, let’s remember that it’s a dish best served cold. (And, that according to dictionary gurus Merriam-Webster, the phrase has its origins from Thomas Fuller and Miguel de Cervantes, among others. Wikipedia claims its origins exist separately from various cultures. What it is not is a Klingon proverb, unlike what is claimed in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.)
All that being said, it will be fairly chilly in Pittsburgh late Sunday — 40 degrees with high humidity providing a bite to the cold temperatures by game’s end.