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I need to have a quick Man Consultation, or Mansultation as I always call it (‘always’ as in right at this exact moment and never before nor likely after this moment). 

I know it may not be advisable but is it at least appropriate for a man to openly cry tears of joy while watching another dude dance? Now hold on a second. I feel like this question warrants context so please refrain from passing judgement until I’ve fully explained myself. Clearly if I’m, say, at the gym and witness a guy in the next room doing Zumba it would be severely indecorous for me to weep in elation at the sight of it. Unless of course my tears, rather than being an expression of happiness, are that of sadness because the guy is my son and I’m understandably distraught to see the flesh of my flesh enrolled in a Zumba class. 

But what if the man is Ray Lewis and he’s just run out on the field for the last offensive snap to secure the wild card playoff victory in the final home game of his Hall of Fame career, and he’s dancing one last dance as the clock hits zero and the crowd erupts to salute the sports legend who has defined a franchised and represented a city for 17 glorious years? Is it OK if, perhaps, one or two dignified tears rolled down my manly and hairy face? I know there’s no sense in Monday morning quarterbacking your crying fits, but I can’t help it. I feel like I could bottle those tears and file them in the “acceptable” drawer along with the ones I shed at the end of “Rudy” and “Old Yeller”. It’s normal to bottle your own tears and keep them in a filing cabinet, right? 

Anyway, God Speed, Ray. 

Yeah, I know, save the “Ray Lewis is a murderer” jokes, alright? The man was acquitted of those charges in a court of law. The courts never get anything wrong. Except for maybe once or twice or 80 million times. Since yesterday. But regardless, we are all legally innocent until proven guilty so screw off, Pittsburgh fans. Hey while you’re here, what’s it like not being around in the divisional round? I’m only asking because you all have a lot of experience with that recently. At least it gives your team plenty of time to prepare to go .500 again next year. Maybe you should think about getting someone on your club (other than Mike Wallace) who can break 6 seconds in the 40. But I digress. 

I grew up in Baltimore. I’ve been watching Ray Lewis lead the team into battle since I was 9 years old. And I’m 14 now so needless to say it’s been a long time. I didn’t know football before number 52 started crushing running backs in the backfield. It will be strange watching it without him. My emotions will make sense to sports fans of any type. They are no doubt alien to those who don’t possess the cerebral mutation that causes you to become unreasonably emotionally invested in the exploits of a group of physically gifted men who get paid a bunch of cash to play a game. I can’t relate to you people but I will envy you next week when Peyton Manning crushes the Ravens with 400 yards passing and then smothers them under a pile of Papa John’s pizzas. And I’m again left utterly broken and devastated for reasons my brain can’t understand.

But for now I’ll savor this indelible moment in American sports history. It’s been quite a ride, Mr. Lewis. 

P.S. Please spare me the “this is misogynistic and it trades on rote male stereotypes!” routine. I’m still dealing with that from the playful (yet honest) thrashing I did of “Les Miserables” last week. If you are one of the poor saps navigating through life without a sense of humor, I pity you. But steer clear of me because I find you enormously irritating. One day I will seize control of the entire North American continent and rule over it as a militaristic dictator (so things won’t really change much, I guess). The first people I will banish to a prison colony on an obscure desert island in the Pacific are those that get offended when someone “stereotypes”. My new Utopian society will have no use for uptight whiners.