Saturday, October 01, 2011

It Was The Last Game of the Season

Ideally this post about David Geddes's mostly forgotten, cumbersomely titled, 1975 top 20 hit "The Last Game of the Season (A Blind Man in the Bleachers)" would have been most relevant last Wednesday when it actually was the last game of the MLB season for all the teams. It could have still been relevant if Atlanta or Boston didn't complete their spectacular month long collapses and ended up at least forcing an extra play-in game for the next day. However when it comes to posts on this blog, we should all be happy enough to get posts let alone timely ones.

As I was saying, since discovering "The Last Game of the Season" a few years ago the final regular season games of all the major sport teams I follow have reminded me of it for obvious reasons; I can't really think of any other notable songs off the top of my head about the last game of the season. Additionally, since most of the big four sports teams that I have a rooting interest in have long been in periods of "rebuilding" (Islanders, Mets, Knicks, Bills) the regular season have often become the end of the line.
That being said, I sort of wish that there was a better song to commemorate the end of professional sports seasons. I have to admit "The Last Game of the Season" is well, more or less, kind of terrible. Ostensibly it's not even related to professional sports, the song's story is about the last high school football game of the season; and even then it's pretty lacking in any actual details about the game and focuses on the ludicrously cornball story about the underdog second string running back protagonist and his faithful titular blind man father who listens to his games from the stand.

Generally I am a huge fan of the overly melodramatic and overwrought 70s story song and I actually really enjoyed Geddes's more successful first single, the deliciously over the top tale of doomed star crossed love, "Run Joey Run" (it still absolutely blows my mind that Glee once covered this obscure hit). However, there's just something lacking about "The Last of the Season". The song's set up is fine and there's plenty of excessive sentimentality in the story: the dad's boundless optimism for his scrappy underdog son's future success (perhaps blind faith?) contrasted with the sad predicament of the father only being able to see his son scoring touchdowns in his dreams. The reveal at the end is killer, where after the son comes into the game and inexplicably leads the team to a thrilling come from behind victory he reveals that his father had passed away in a hospital during the middle of the game but he takes solace in the fact that "it's the first time that my father's seen me play". Utterly devastating. Basically you take "Rudy" and make the dad blind and kill him off at the last game of the season; a game which Rudy makes an actually meaningful contribution to the team's end of the season victory rather than just getting the symbolic victory of getting on the field in garbage time.

Unfortunately the music and the singing just doesn't bring across with enough gravitas to support the heavy concept. The vocals could have been more soaring, the chorus could have been expanded, the score stripped of even more subtlety. The song felt like it was pulling its punches, or I guess in this case, not pulling enough on the listener's heartstrings. In addition, there weren't enough little touches to paint a vivid enough picture to match the emotions. It's never explained how far the team was behind, if the game meant anything to the team, or what exactly the son do to get the win.

To put it into a more relevant sports analogy, there's certainly a lot of potential in the song but at the end of the season it ultimately and disappointingly falls short of the playoffs.

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