When good things happen to good people | Chuck's World

By Chuck Sigars | Jan 29, 2014

I spent too much time online last Sunday. As if I’m ever disconnected.

The rest of the universe enters my house through fiberoptic cable, and now entire categories of home appliances connect effortlessly to my network, including some I’m probably unaware of (the microwave gives me funny looks. I know, I know. But it does).

And then there’s my phone, and whatever signals my car is processing from outer space. True story: I bought a new car a while back, and a few days later I was adjusting the rearview mirror when a lady’s voice spoke out of, like, nowhere.

“Are you in need of emergency assistance?” she asked.

“Well, I can’t see anything out of this mirror,” I said, regretting it almost immediately.

So, being “online” sounds like something your grandpa might say, but I was, and it was too much. I was in a constant refresh mode, looking for new information, looping through the same sites, over and over again.

And it was then, skimming through headlines for the umpteenth time, that I saw the picture of Beyoncé, singing during the prime-time Grammy awards, which were going on at the moment.

Oh, sure, I thought. Beyoncé. If that’s the kind of thing you like. Stunning beauty and talent that seems to originate in another, more musical dimension. I guess she’s good. Whatever. It’s all about money anyway.

Look: I have something remarkably self-indulgent to share, and even though that’s nothing new for this column, I feel a little guilty. So before I do this, I’ll veer off a little and say a few words about Richard Sherman.

As you either know or don’t care enough about to be likely to learn, Richard Sherman is probably the best cornerback in the NFL (many people think so. Including Richard Sherman).

He plays for the Seattle Seahawks, who play for us. Us. They are our team, local and institutionalized and part of the culture, regardless of your feelings about football.

And as you surely also know, following the Hawks’ win over the 49ers in the NFC game, Mr. Sherman said a mean thing about another football player.

In a few moments of video that was seen live and then went viral in a matter of seconds, Sherman disrespected San Francisco receiver Michael Crabtree in a very public way. It was a jerk move.

Or it was funny. It sort of depends on where your football loyalties reside, or whether or not you noticed Sherman just moments before he was on air, joking and laughing with the Fox Sports reporter who was about to interview him.

In the latter case, you might get the idea that Richard Sherman was putting on a little show for the fans, reminiscent of professional wrestling or any number of interviews given by Muhammed Ali in his heyday.

But it started a round of bad press that got worse, to the point that Richard Sherman seemed to embody every bad thing about every bad thing.

Poor sportsmanship. Egos out of control. The word “thug” was thrown around a lot.

Sen. John McCain even went on the record, saying, "...that loudmouth from Seattle sort of epitomizes the Seattle team to me." The Seattle team. You know he’s talking about us, right?

Again, this is old news, and an old story. Someone says something or does something, something that looks in retrospect to be maybe an exercise in poor judgment, and a reputation is ruined.

Here’s what I think is remarkable, though: Richard Sherman got it back. The same warp speed that makes a few seconds of video go viral began collecting a bunch of truth, and eventually the rest of the world began to see the Sherman that most of us are familiar with.

The remarkable story of academic and athletic achievement. The good works. The effect he has on his teammates, his family, his fans. The stories started slowly rolling out, and Richard Sherman got his groove back, and this cheered me up immensely.

It gave me hope. Hope that what looked like a sound-bite culture might have some subtlety and nuance. Hope that truth might, in fact, make its way around the world just a tad behind a lie, but eventually make its way.

And hope that Mr. Sherman’s cohort, a baby-boomish generation we conveniently call Millennials, are going to be able to shake the idiotic “everybody gets a trophy” meme and demonstrate that dedication, talent and perseverance still work as they always have, if maybe faster. Cheers me up, as I say.

Here’s the self-indulgent part, then.

A few years ago, some other Millennials banded together in the Berkshires, under the direction of Brad Wells, and formed an unusual octet of singers called “Roomful of Teeth.”

They learned vocal techniques from all over the world, combined this with composers specifically commissioned to write for them, and produced some amazing music, including a debut album.

One of these eight singers was my son-in-law, Cameron Beauchamp, so it’s personal.

It’s why I spent Sunday online, watching a live stream from the pre-telecast Grammys, the Beyonce-less show where they give out a majority of the awards, where I watched my son-in-law bound to the stage to pick up his Grammy, screaming like I did when Richard Sherman tipped away that pass meant for Michael Crabtree.

And why I spent the rest of the evening searching for stories with happy endings, and why I found them. Again, it just cheers me up.

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