Sunday, February 13, 2022

On Super Bowl Sunday, Just Because I Grew Up in Cincinnati ...

... even though not really a football fan, I have one thing to say (ahem) ... 

Who Dey?  :)

Now, if you're saying to yourself ...  "What does that even mean?"

Well,  first of all, if you don't know, then clearly, it means you're either not a football fan or you're not from Cincinnati lol.

This is how you greet a fellow Cincinnati Bengals fan, or even just a fellow Cincinnatian :)

The origin of this phrase began in the 1981 football season, when Kenny Anderson was the QB and Chis Collinsworth was the star wide receiver (now an NFL commentator), and with Anthony Munoz who was one of the first of the "super-sized" bad-ass offensive-tackle linemen. 

The chant originates from 1981, when Cincinnati went to the Super Bowl,  against the San Francisco 49ers (with Joe Montana as QB, so that was kind of a foregone conclusion who would win ;)

I was in the 7th grade at Sycamore junior high, at the time, in the Cincy suburbs - but  I still remember the chant debuting, which is still chanted today, after a Bengals' touchdown - particularly if one at Cincy's Paul Brown Stadium. 

The full chant goes:

"Who Dey? Who Dey? Who Dey think they gonna beat dem Bengals?"

"Who Dey? Who Dey? Who Dey think they gonna beat dem Bengals?"


Just a momentary FYI aside - Anthony Munoz actually lived just behind me, growing up, in the super swanky new subdivision that had just been built. 

It wasn't a gated community, and his house was super close to the other homes in his neighborhood, indicating he wasn't into acting like a superstar  - and yet I only saw a glimpse of him once, because he was super busy and out of town a lot, of course.   I saw his wife, a few times, and his two kids (who were very little - I think one was even a baby), but Anthony only once, very quickly.  Of course he had someone else taking care of the lawn, etc. because he was busy and could afford to!

In fact, very few people ever saw him, either in my neighborhood or his own - not because he wasn't friendly, he supposedly is very friendly - but because, as I said, he was obviously busy and on the road/out of town a lot, and likely also because this was during the height of his fame and he had to be careful who he let directly into his world (though his direct neighbors probably knew him, their houses were very close together). 

Also likely because many of my neighbors, especially on the street that I lived on, were just - weird - and not in a good way.  Now, realize that I'm saying this recognizing that I am weird, , myself, and I was especially quiet and weird as a kid - so when I say weird, I mean really weird -  and not in a good way, like in a quiet, nerdy, creative, smart, or culturally different way - I mean weird in the paranoid, racist, mean way.
All of the kids on my street hung out together and got along, of course -  but their parents often kept to themselves, like mine did, and didn't socialize with each other, greet each other, or often even wave at each other.  In fact, many parents didn't socialize much at all, with anyone at all.  I only later discovered the reasons for this - raging alcoholism/addiction, abuse or trauma,  and extreme fringe religious and/or political beliefs.

Sometimes, though, they didn't have any of these issues at all - they were just unfortunately originally from more rural areas, especially Kentucky, but had come into enough money to live in this area - but despite having at least some money, they unfortunately just didn't quite fit in with the "it" crowd, in this affluent suburban Cincinnati community :(

It was NOT because they were poor, not by a long ways - because though the homes were modest, everyone on our street owned at least 1.5 to 5 acres, with my friend, Margie's parents, owning the most - a farm, over 100 acres (which they later sold to a subdivision development). It was uncommon, in this area of suburban Cincinnati to own much land, and definitely not cheap.  Most owned bigger, fancier homes, but they sat on half-acre or even a quarter-acre in subdivisions.  So it wasn't that we were necessarily considered poorer, just different, in some way, and some were very reclusive - some might even call them/us "outcasts."

This would be sad, if the reason for this was just that we were all were  "new money" and had come from rural regions originally - but it wasn't.    In fact, if I recall correctly, there were only 2 of my friends' parents that their original rural backgrounds were the only reason they didn't fit in with the "it" crowd, and those two families were otherwise  very healthy, normal, friendly people, with their own little groups of friends, usually others from similar original backgrounds.  (My parents, of course, had both knocks against them - not only new money from rural Kentucky, but also had a few of the above issues - lucky me!)

Regardless, point being, that despite some being community outsiders themselves -  and despite Anthony Munoz actually being born in Toronto, a legal citizen in both Canada and the U.S., college-educated, and considered one of the greatest offensive tackles of all time, later to become a Hall-of-Famer, and made more money than most of the people living in either my neighborhood, or even his, would ever see in their lifetime - both neighborhoods still referred to him as "that Mexican"  because of his Mexican ancestry.

Ah, stereotyping and our nonsensical socioeconomic system, right? 

But I digress, back to the Bengals :)

"WHY is Cincinnati's team even called the Bengals?" -  you may also ask

Well, because in 1967, when the team was established, the Cincinnati Zoo was the second oldest zoo (1875), the second largest zoo, and also considered the second best zoo in the country,  just behind the San Diego Zoo. (It's still in the top 5, but it varies based on who's making the list.)

In fact, not only was it a large zoo, but it was one of the first zoos in the country to begin focusing more on conservation and preservation of endangered species, rather than just putting them on display.  

They did so by building more natural habitats for the animals, rather than just putting them in cages and behind bars, both to foster a more natural environment for the endangered species, as well as to promote breeding.

 This of course included the Bengal tigers - particularly, the exceedingly rare white Bengal tigers.

(Even my husband's class from Detroit came down to visit for a field trip as a child, to visit the white Bengal tigers :)

Though typically orange and black ...

The Bengal tigers at Cincy's zoo are an especially rare endangered species, in that they are actually white Bengal tigers ...

But oh well, we went with orange and black anyway in Cincy lol

(Also, as an FYI, the University of Cincinnati's teams are called the "Bearcats," for the same reason - not because bearcats are indigenous to Cincinnati, they're from central Asia - but because they, too, were an endangered species at the Cincinnati Zoo, at that time - but unlike Bengal tigers, bearcats have now been upgraded to the "vulnerable" list.)

Also, despite every sports team in the country now using the Guns-N-Roses song, "Welcome to the Jungle," the Cincinnati Bengals were actually the first on record to have permission to use the song for their introduction and during play.

Welcome to the jungle, baby - Go Burrow, go Bengals!


PS - Just as an FYI, Cincinnati is already going nuts - they've already called off school tomorrow lol.

PPS - Well, we only watched the last 10 minutes, but apparently it was a tight game, a close score, but victory slipped away AGAIN!

But how about Joe Burrow, only in his second season, right?  There'll be more chances, only good things to come for him!

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