Rodney Dangerfield and The Sister Parks

October 21, 2020  •  Leave a Comment

If you're old enough to remember comedian Rodney Dangerfield, you'll recall his signature "I get no respect" catchphrase. Before your time? Search for him on YouTube. He was a funny guy.

If Dangerfield is dipping too far into the way-back time machine, we can switch to sports and nearer to the present day for a more current example of the "no respect" syndrome.

Take the White Sox. If you're from Chicago - like me - people automatically assume you're a Cubs fan. (Don't get me started...) Go outside of Illinois and you'll find there are a lot of folks who forget Chicago has two baseball teams. Oddly, this includes sports reporters - whom you'd think ought to have some familiarity with the baseball landscape. In the runup to the Cubs' 2016 World Series appearance, multiple media outlets seemed to have amnesia regarding the Sox's 2005 Series win (I might add they won it running away, losing only one game during the postseason). For example, this CBS tweet: Wrigley Field is prepping for an event Chicago hasn't seen in 71 years, the World Series. ESPN has forgotten about the 2005 Series at least twice. Apparently they slept through that entire postseason. Granted, ESPN's Boston/New York bias is legendary but still... 

No respect. Splendor on the SnakeSplendor on the SnakeGrand Teton National Park, Wyoming

Which brings me to my two local national parks. Situated nearly adjacent to Yellowstone, Grand Teton is often overshadowed by its larger neighbor. Many visitors who fly into Jackson Hole depart from the rental car facility bound for Yellowstone, blasting past the Tetons with barely a sideways glance. Each night on the local news, the meteorologist gives the Old Faithful weather forecast for the following day. As for that other park? Crickets. When I tell local friends I'm heading over to the park to work, they assume I mean Yellowstone. Most often, this is incorrect.

Yes, Yellowstone is huge, at nearly 3,500 square miles. It has weird and wonderful geothermal features (best seen in winter - truly amazing). It has the Yellowstone River - the principal tributary of the upper Missouri River. It's home to the oldest and largest herd of bison in the United States. 

But Grand Teton National Park isn't exactly chopped liver. While the stunning Teton Range is one of the shortest in the Rockies, it's arguably the most recognized - and probably the most dramatic thanks in large part to the absence of foothills. 20 of its named peaks exceed 10,000 feet. It has the Snake River - the largest tributary of the Columbia. Like Yellowstone, it's also home to a large variety of wildlife - including bison.

So while Yellowstone steals an inordinate amount of the thunder, Grand Teton National Park is every bit as spectacular. 

To be clear, I'm not suggesting that nobody visits the Tetons. Believe me when I say plenty of people come! But GTNP most definitely lives in the shadow of the other park. It's a head scratcher, but something tells me Rodney Dangerfield - and my White Sox - would be able to relate. :)


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