Star Tenor to Play for Pittsburgh Steelers in 2014
In a move that has astonished both the opera and sports worlds alike, star tenor and free agent Rolando Villazón has signed a 10-year contract rumored to be in the multimillions of dollars to play for the legendary Pittsburgh Steelers, the team boasting the most Super Bowl wins in National Football League history (six, to be exact) starting immediately, if not sooner. The news comes on the heels of the Steelers dramatic, last-second home opener win against rival Cleveland Browns.
Noted for his dizzying array of talents, including opera megastar, director, author, artist, television host, clown doctor, and ace ping-pong player, the multi-facetted Renaissance man is poised to add yet another arrow to his quiver of pursuits – professional football player.
A spokesman for the soon-to-be Steeler reports that the tenor is entertaining a variety of positions to play on the team, carefully weighing the good and the bad, the pros and cons of each.
Pros: The opera star already plays soccer (OK, fútbol), so he knows how to kick a ball accurately. Also, placekickers don’t get tackled much, so that’s nice. All things being equal, it is better not to have the stuffing knocked out of you, if at all possible.
Cons: Placekickers are often viewed as weirdo outsiders who prowl the sideline talking to themselves and swatting at imaginary flies until they are summoned to make the game-winning field goal as was demonstrated in their home opener. Failure can result in numerous horrific punishments including being forced into viewing all six hours of the BBC’s “Pride and Prejudice” in a room full of women swooning giddily over Mr. Darcy.
Pros: It’s a glamorous position that would certainly put him on the covers of “Sports Illustrated” and “Opera News” simultaneously, and almost certainly the premier edition of “Flash Mob Quarterly” as well.
Cons: Being chased by eleven 350-pound (158-kilogram) defensive players and then squashed into a pancake would make even Satre understand the difference between “being” and “nothingness.”
Pros: This position epitomizes poetry in motion. Streaking down the field and leaping up, arms extended, then plucking the ball out of the air while in mid-stride is a thing of exquisite beauty that even Nureyev or Barishnikov could not rival.
Cons: Streaking down the field and leaping up, arms extended, then plucking the ball out of the air while in mid-stride puts him in an ideal position to be leveled by ill-tempered opponents named “Bubba” or “Mad Dog.”
Pros: This position provides ample opportunity to engage in the art and science of trash talking and making colorful and witty comments about the opponent’s mother. Not to mention having the best names ever like “Mean Joe Green.”
Cons: These players just don’t get the attention that their teammates do, which leads to inevitable self-doubt, nihilistic dark nights of the soul, and the endless torment of one hand clapping as the wretched victim agonizes over “Am I real?” “Is life just a dream?” “Does this uniform make me look fat?”
Pros: He’s the star of the show. If he wins, he gets all the credit. No amount of confetti is too much. Winning quarterbacks snare insanely-lucrative endorsements for products ranging from baby powder to small desert islands. Babies and newly-discovered planets are named after him.
Cons: He’s the star of the show. If he loses, he gets all the blame. He is excoriated in the press and the subject of vicious tirades around the water cooler on Monday morning. His status as a true American is called into question. In extreme instances, losing quarterbacks have even been known to be kicked out of the church choir.
In addition to choosing his role on the team, the multi-talented tenor is also contemplating several catchy nicknames—the time-honored prerogative of elite athletes. In the running, if you’ll pardon the lame puns, are “The Rolinator,” “End Zone Villazón,” “Rockin’ Roli,” “Tequila Sunrise,” and “The Mexican Firecracker.”
Legendary Steelers coach Chuck Noll, who passed away recently, was thrilled to hear that the tenor was joining his squad. “I always thought there were a lot of similarities between opera and football,” he observed. “Both are a team effort. There is no ‘I’ in ‘team’ or ‘opera.’ Both are games—a temporary suspension of the ‘real’ world that, for three soul-satisfying hours, presents us with a heightened reality that is not induced by banned substances. I couldn’t be happier than to have Rolando joining my team in the position of his choice. By the way, as far as the nicknames, I vote for Rockin’ Roli. It’s so damn cute.”
On a bit of a cautionary note, the tenor is being advised that two new penalties have been added to the rule books in anticipation of his arrival. First, it will now be illegal to burst into song at any point during the game. The National Football League cites safety as the motivating force, noting that a spirited rendition of “La donna e mobile” is sure to incite the crowd into an operatic throw-down where opposing sides will attempt to out-sing their adversaries, the din of which will make it impossible for the quarterback to call a play. Tempers will inevitably flair on and off the field, and the resulting chaos will require the intervention of the local constabulary. The new rule is being called the “O, sole mio” violation, and it will result in a 15-yard penalty, a loss of down, and suspension of garden club privileges pending review of the infraction.
Similarly, it will now be illegal to engage in philosophical debate of any kind in the huddle. Such discussions have for some time been a particular nuisance to the league and the primary cause of delay-of-game penalties. Starting this year, the NFL has adopted a zero-tolerance policy in its quest to eradicate the perennial problem. Football Commissioner Ken “Wrong Way” Kant has warned that the addition of Villazón promises to exacerbate the problem ten-fold. “Once they get yapping about my great-great-grampa’s ‘Kritik der reinen Vernunft’ and that pesky subject-object problem, there’s no shutting them up. Ugh. Adding Villazón to the mix will only make matters worse. And don’t get me started on skepticism and David Hume. Please. Listen, if Villazón is the instigator, he’ll be ejected from the game, pure and simple. Rockin’ Roli or no, he’s outta here.”
Now the naysayers may furrow their brows at the superstar’s bold move, citing the ever-popular, if dim-witted, argument: “That’s not what he’s supposed to do.” These critics should be reminded that the tenor routinely “Does things he’s not supposed to do” with great success. Case in point: his remarkable foray into the works of long-time chum and speed demon, Wolfgang Amadeus “The Rocket” Mozart, also rumored to be headed for the Steelers. And, as if any further proof of the tenor’s readiness for the NFL were necessary, the recent demonstration of his mastery of the high-flying belly-bump (« obligatoire » for any serious football player) during “Così fan tutte” at La Scala must impress even the most hardened skeptic. So when Villazón joins the Steelers, can Super Bowl championship number seven be far behind?
Joanna from New York