Friday, November 25, 2005
DELAY OF GAME
GEORGE BEST died yesterday at the age of 59. During the 60's and early 70's he was the best soccer player in the world. But he was also much, much more. His movie star good looks, love of booze, broads, and fast cars made him an A list pop star, running in the same circles as Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart, Britt Eklund, Steve Winwood, et al. He appeared on the cover of teen magazines, and millions of young women swooned. He almost singlehandedly popularized soccer in this country, as all those swooning teenage girls would soon enough become parents and give birth to the "soccer mom" phenomenon. I guess that kind of makes him responsible for mini vans too... but I digress!
After his career ended, best quickly fell into alcoholism and bankruptcy. He quit the booze, but not in time to save his liver. He had to undergo a transplant, and the drugs that kept his body from rejecting his new liver left him open to infections. He was hospitalized a few months ago with a kidney infection, and never recovered.
My biggest memory of Best was from a photo magazine pic of Rod Stewart and Best, each with a bottle of beer in hand, playing soccer. It was the perfect picture to capture the essence of George Best, pop star athlete.