In honor of its triumphant return to our lives, we choose to recall other brilliant comebacks that evoke the joy and wonderment that The Jack Sack provided some of us last night. Like they say, it's always darkest just before you turn on the lights.
5. Elvis Presley: The '68 Comeback Special. After years of decline, Elvis was fading from the forefront of our minds. What used to be the coolest cat in the junkyard of Rock 'n Roll became a bloated has-been with his best years well behind him. The Beatles and Rolling Stones were the new face of music, and Elvis was for the older crowd-- for the people that supported Vietnam and hated the hippie movement (and the copious amount of drugs that went with that lifestyle). But you just can't keep the King down, can you? Elvis dropped weight, threw on a black leather jumpsuit and turned a Christmas TV special into a sizzlin' revue of his greatest music. Now immortalized on collector plates from the Hamilton Collection, one must not forget the true meaning behind that one night back in December, 1968. Where the nation was tearing itself apart with war, race riots and the tumult of succeeding assassinations (JFK, Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert Kennedy), Elvis' return to form was a brief respite for a weary nation. All Hail The King!
4. The Buffalo Bills v. The Houston Oilers: January 3, 1993. Down 35-3 during the beginning of the second half, the Bills were left for dead by their habitually-abused fans. Thousands ran for the parking lot, believing that the blow-out that had taken place in the first 30-plus minutes of game time was the death-kneel for this band of underachieving choke-artists. But then an angel rose from the ashes, and his name was Frank Reich. Benchwarmer, back-up QB and an all-around no-name, Reich did in one game what no other quarterback had ever managed in the history of the National Football League. He led his team back from the dead and forced an overtime victory at 42-40. I recall this game and I remember yelling all the obscenities in my arsenal at the time (I was a part-time Oilers fan thanks to my brother's adoration of Warren Moon). But in the end, the Bills got whipped in Super Bowl XXVII later that year by the loathsome Dallas Cowboys. So many mixed emotions, so little time for therapy.
3. Captain Spock: Commanding Officer and Acting First Officer of the Starship Enterprise. Some of you louses couldn't care less about Vulcan's first member of Starfleet, but there is a fringe element in our society that damn near lost their greatest hero when Captain Spock died- DIED!- saving his crew from certain death. Following an epic naval battle in the Mutara Nebula, Admiral James Kirk was faced with a no-win scenario when his nemesis, Khan Noonian Singh set off the Genesis Device in a nearby ship. Spock, understanding the situation, entered a radioactive compartment in the ship's Engineering section to manually repair the Enterprise's systems to enable an escape at warp speed. Spock, ever the trickster, also transferred his katra, his living spirit to fellow crewmember Dr. Leonard McCoy before his death. This would later result in the ridiculously rare and plot-convenient fal-tor-pan ritual being done (popping Spock's soul back into his newly-regenerated body). It took two more movies for Spock to make any damned sense, but when he came back to broker a peace with the Klingons, well- shucks, I think I've let myself go on a bit too much here. Y'all get the picture.
2. George Washington: The American Revolutionary War. After declaring our independence from the British Empire, after tossing tea leaves into the Boston Harbor and after a lot of inspirational fervor in the form of some really controversial parchment writing, the Revolutionary War was a complete disaster from the get-go. General George Washington had never commanded troops in such a complicated theater of war. His troops were subpar on the average, he didn't have enough of them to match the superior British opposition and his non-professional army also lacked shoes and gunpowder. Basically, the British had us dead-to-rights. By the winter of 1776, Washington's army was down to about 1,500 troops, down from 15,000 a year or so prior. And then Divine Providence shone down upon the soon-to-be biggest loser of all-time. General Washington bet the house on crossing the Delaware River and taking on the Hessian troops in The Battle of Trenton. He did it on the day after Christmas. That's chutzpah, kids. That's what makes you the Father of our nation. Lesson from this story: hit your enemies when they're in their pajamas eating gingerbread cookies.
1. Jesus of Nazareth: The Resurrection. Whether you believe in the story of Christ's resurrection or not, it is nothing less than pivotal with respect to human history. Before I continue, I have to have a sidebar with you all: I swing from serious to silly at the drop of the hat. Some people out there might be offended that I include Jesus with the Buffalo Bills and Mr. Spock on a list (but somehow few would argue against Elvis and Jesus being together, go figure!), but I mean no disrespect to anyone, nor do I mean to diminish one's religion (or lack thereof). I am actually quite serious about this subject, and I think there is room for variety and discussion about a great many things. Too often, we hold people down on the ground by their necks for the things that they say, stifling not only speech but thought as well. But back to the topic-- Jesus' story has shaped our world, without question. It's the greatest comeback of all-time. You don't have to be Christian to agree with that statement.
So, there you have it- another insanely random dip into the pool of my brain. This is not an absolute list, obviously. I've gone "stream of consciousness" here, and it's mostly meant to entertain and tantalize you good people. Comebacks are what we hope to see and experience ourselves. Why else do you think there are six Rocky movies out there? May you all have comebacks in your own personal lives too. Cheers!