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July 17, 2005

Ohmigod! Chuck Foreman!

The summer after 8th grade, I was enjoying a lazy, hazy, decidedly un-crazy summer day with a few friends. We were gabbin' 'bout the skin o' the pig, as many 13-year-olds are wont to do.

On that particular afternoon, we were debating the merits of various & sundry NFL running backs. At one point, after agreeing that Walter Payton was indeed the best ever (RIP, Sweetness), one of my friends invoked the name of Chuck Foreman, the halfback with a silky smooth spin move, who played for the Minnesota Vikings in the mid-'70s.

Another friend looked at though he'd been struck by a thunderbolt. "Ohmigod! Chuck Foreman!" he exclaimed. "I totally forgot about him!"

Naturally, we jumped all over him. "What do you mean you forgot about him? He was a 5-time Pro-Bowler just a few years ago! And the Bears play the Vikings twice a year, every year!"

In his excited state, he mercifully explained just what the hell he was talking about. "I realize he was one of the best running backs in the NFL pretty recently, so of course I know who he is, but I had completely forgotten about him. Until just now, his name was completely erased from my memory banks. So when you mentioned his name, all of my Chuck Foreman memories (how many Chuck Foreman memories can a teenage Bears fan have?) suddenly came flooding back! That was so cool!"

Since that day, the phenomenon of "having a Chuck Foreman" - a sudden reminder of a long-forgotten person, event, product, etc. - has spread like a mildly successful viral marketing campaign. In recent years, I've heard good ol' #44's name invoked by people I've never met, about things that have nothing to do with football.

How does one use Chuck Foreman in a sentence? Why, like this, of course:
    • Candy: "Big League Chew?! Ohmigod! Chuck Foreman!"
    • School Supplies: "Liquid Paper?! Ohmigod! Chuck Foreman!"
    • Music: "Hooked On Classics?! Ohmigod! Chuck Foreman!"
    • Movies: "Breakin' 2 - Electric Boogaloo?! Ohmigod! Chuck Foreman!"
    • Video Games: Here's how is this self-indulgent trivia cruise down memory lane is relevant...
In preparing arcade-related lectures for my class on the history of the video game industry, one of the resources I use is a website called KLOV, which stands for Killer List of Videogames. Most of the games I check out are well-loved, well-remembered favorites, like Galaga, Defender, Tron, Star Wars, Time Pilot, Tempest, Zaxxon, and the other usual suspects.

But every once in a while, I'll stumble across a game that sounds vaguely familiar, and once I click on the link to see the cabinet, marquee & screenshots, I'm suddenly and abruptly whisked back 20+ years into the past.

Here are a few KLOV-induced Chuck Foremans I've had recently:

When I saw each one of these in the text-only list, I had a vague memory of the title (except for Wizard of Wor, which I remembered), but when I clicked on the game page, I immediately remembered playing and enjoying each one. *sigh... good times*

I wonder which of the games we're currently playing will fill that role for my kids someday.

I wonder about what I can do to make their childhood gaming memories as sweet, if not sweeter than mine.

But most of all, I wonder when my kids will be home from day camp so we can play one of their favorite games together.

So 20 years from now, they can suddenly exclaim...

Sly Cooper?! Ohmigod! Chuck Foreman!


  • Somebody has got to make a video game about the CFL.

    By Blogger Christopher Trottier, at 9:06 PM  

  • It would be fun to play on the oversized field, but of course, the market ain't much to brag about. If only they didn't care about those pesky profits. ;o)

    By Blogger Dan, at 10:46 PM  

  • chuck foreman is my uncle!!

    By Anonymous tasha, at 3:26 PM  

  • Very cool, Tasha. Please tell your uncle that I really enjoyed watching him play when I was younger, except against the Bears, of course :). He was a terrific running back, and that spin move was awesome.

    By Blogger Dan, at 3:41 PM  

  • As a miami hurricanes fan i am bothered that Foreman is not in the college or pro football hall of fame.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:38 PM  

  • Surely forgotten because of the Vikings performances in Superbowl games.
    Been a football fan for close to 40 years. NEVER has anyone matched the moves of Foreman.Not the fastest guy in the world,but as far as running into a pile and making every other tackler miss..nevr seen anything like it.A phenomenal player.Also a fantastic reciever,but it was his bolt-like quickness and oh those moves.God bless Chuck.

    By Anonymous Jose, at 7:19 PM  

  • I'm not sure if others can relate to this, but as a child I was a huge Vikings fan (still am). When they won, it was fantastic. When they lost, it actually cast a shadow over my entire week. God bless Chuck Foreman for being a major contributer to a happy childhood.
    Now adult concerns have slowly crept into my life and the Vikings game is just something to enjoy, as opposed to a seeming life and death struggle. However, I still have my autographed Chuck Foreman and Fran Tarkenton photos hanging on the wall and I still often drift back to that time when Chuck Foreman dove over the pile of defenders to score so that I could smile all week. Thanks Chuck.

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