One of my favorite scenes of Kill Bill: Volume 2 is when Budd, Bill's drunken brother, is questioning Elle Driver in his shabby trailer. Elle has come because Bill has (apparently) killed The Bride, the trained assassin getting revenge on the crew that crossed her. Elle expresses regret that Budd, a drunken lout, has killed what is essentially her greatest rival.
Budd: So, which "R" you filled with?
Elle Driver: What?
Budd: They say the number one killer of old people is retirement. People got a job to do, they tend to live a little bit longer so they can do it. I've always figured that warriors and their enemies share the same relationship. So, now that you're not gonna have to face your enemy no more on the battlefield, which "R" you filled with? Relief … or regret?
Elle Driver: A little bit of both.
Budd: Horseshit. I'm sure you do feel a little bit of both. But I know damn well that you feel one more than you feel the other. And the question was, which one is it?
Elle Driver: [pause] Regret.
I feel somewhat similar about the passing of Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. When he owned the team and handled the day-to-day operations of it, I hated the miserable old bastard. Every year, the Yankees didn't hesitate to snatch the prime free agents right out from under the Red Sox. By all accounts, he was a mean, angry bastard who demanded that his teams win, and he was twice suspended by Major League Baseball for his attempts to bend the rules to win.
However, because he was such a tyrannical figure, it made him the perfect villain and adversary. Steinbrenner was easy to hate, and ever since his sons took over the day-to-day operations of the team, the Yankees have become (dare I say?) a more respectable organization. This disappoints me as a Red Sox fan, since the ALCS victory and eventual World Series championship in 2004 - in seven games, down three games to none, against the Yankees - was the sweetest possible comeback of all-time, and Steinbrenner's gigantic presence helped.
Therefore, I'm saddened by his passing today. One of the worst things to happen to professional sports in the past 30 years to me has been the increasing corporate culture and atmosphere surrounding all of them. Sure, the analytical nature of the Red Sox has helped them to a couple World Series titles, which I'm grateful for.
However, I think that could have happened anyway without the passing of the larger-than-life figures like Steinbrenner into the mists of history. With him gone, only the NBA's Mark Cuban is left as a guy who consistently rocks the boat, although I'm hopeful that the Bond villain who bought the New Jersey Nets will contribute as well. Steinbrenner didn't give a shit about profits or payroll - that cranky old bastard wanted to win. Every sports league needs more owners like him, as opposed to billionaires who care more about sticking it to the unions.
The picture at the top comes from this site.