Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mike Bohn: Man of Steel

Does anyone remember a game called "The Comeback"? It was January 3, 1993. The Houston Oilers (later Tennessee Oilers, later Tennessee Titans, consistently mediocre) against the Buffalo Bills who lost like 17 Super Bowls in a row. Strangely enough, that's eactly 17 more times than my beloved Detroit Lions have been to the Super Bowl. Yes, I know they're really bad. I get it.

For some reason, I was over at my grandparents' house in Brighton watching said game in the den. I think it's called the den. Maybe it's the dining room. Can dining rooms have TVs? If so, it was the dining room. If not, it was the den. It's the room between the kitchen and the family room where those of us without children were often relegated for Christmas dinner. Which, for some strange scheduling reason was why I was there. A week after Christmas. My memory isn't what it used to be, although I distinctly remember the time I was playing softball in my grandparents' backyard later that very year and running face first into the flagpole, which felt exactly what you think it would feel like.

My younger brother was, for some reason, a HUGE Buffalo Bills fan, even though they had lost the previous three Super Bowls, and (at the risk of spoiling this story) would go on to lose their fourth of the aforementioned 17 consecutive Super Bowls shortly after the events of January 3, 1993. Me, my brother, and my Uncle Mike were watching this game together.

Houston took a massive lead. And, with every successive score, Uncle Mike would let out a bellow that rang, "Houston Oilllleerrrrs!" Now, to my knowledge, Uncle Mike was never a huge Houston Oilers fan. He never lived in Texas. He liked the Detroit Lions more than I do, which is saying something. I think, however, that he liked to push people's buttons (especially my brother's) because a.) it's so easy, and b.) it's so fun. If there were ever any doubt that Mike Bohn and I are related, I think I just closed the door on those very doubts.

Houston scored. "Houston Oilllleerrrrs!"

Houston scored again. "Houston Oilllleerrrrs!"

Houston scored again. And again. And again. "Houston Oilllleerrrrs!"

Then Buffalo pulled off the greatest comeback in NFL history. And I don't mean that in a flippant way. I mean, they literally pulled off the greatest comeback in NFL history. They were down by 32 points and came back to win. That's like me going to the bar and having the next 10 girls that walk in tell me that I remind them of Ryan Gossling or Kevin Costner circa 1991. Is it possible? Sure, it's possible. But it's not very likely.

As the game, which went into overtime, ended on field goal by Steve Christie, I recall my Uncle Mike being quiet. Which, if you happen to know my Uncle Mike know that that's as rare as the aforementioned thing where the women tell me I look like Ryan Gossling or Kevin Costner circa 1991. My brother couldn't have been happier.

Uncle Mike, you were an incredibly hard work. You worked in the steel industry for longer than I've been alive and I was born during the Carter administration. You were right far more often than you were wrong. And, in typical Bohn fashion, you were able to admit that you were wrong but didn't like to do so. Like me. I'm almost never wrong. Except for when I am. You were infectious and your integrity was beyond measure. You lived a life above reproach. You, Uncle Mike, were truly a Man of Steel.

You will be missed but I will see you again soon. Until then, keep rooting for the Houston Oilers (for some unexplicable reason).