I wrote myself into a corner over the last few weeks and the potential was there for me to get destroyed and embarrassed, but fuck all that noise, I am a man without shame and I refused to shy away from the bright lights of my grandest dreams and I stared into the sun and laughed as they came true. Of course, it is absurd to talk about the fulfillment of dreams when the Lions final record ended up at 6-10 (Actually 7-9, but, well . . . fuck you, Mike Pereira.), but this isn’t so much about this season but about the last month, and about the perfect resolution to a 20 year old story of chaos and pain, tragedy and bitter disappointment.
I have yammered on over and over and over again the last several weeks about this story and I laid out the perfect ending and I dared to believe in it even while I knew that as a Lions fan, perfect endings just don’t happen for me. But those are the sort of fears that we just left behind, the sort of wallowing and depressed expectation of failure that belong to that story that was just resolved so perfectly. I said for weeks that this is how it had to happen, that this was the beautiful symmetry of Fate, that same Fate which has seemed so long to be our enemy, and I believed in it even while I questioned it. I wondered if my mind had cracked and if I was just searching for some desperate reason to believe, for some reason to keep going, to keep moving forward even though I could see nothing on the horizon but the same hell desert we had been wandering in for so long.
A man will tell himself ridiculous things, will lie to himself and will convince his own idiot brain of delusional fantasies if it means living for one more day. I feared that this was what I was doing to myself with all my blathering about the Symmetry of Fate and I suppose in one small distant corner of my mind I was preparing myself for it all to be blown apart and for my own naked foolishness to be exposed in a cavalcade of failure and sports pain but I refused to listen to it and I kept gibbering on like a damn fool, concocting wild epics and insisting that at the end it would all make sense and that we would be happy and that whatever the hell the last couple of decades have been would finally be over and we could move on.
I listened to my heart because it wanted to believe. I trusted it and today I watched the Lions beat the Minnesota Vikings to win their fourth game in a row, and I watched the career of Brett Favre come to a banal, pointless end and those two stories, divergent for so long, that I have carried on about the last couple of weeks finally came to an end, together, in the city of Detroit, and somehow, they ended in a way that justified my own foolish and stupid hopes and dumb fantasies.
It didn’t happen exactly as I prophesized (And really, although that sounds grandiose, I feel that my wild eyed ranting the past few weeks has turned damn near Biblical, so I don’t know what else to call it, you know?) Brett Favre didn’t play and therefore he did not get destroyed by The House of Spears, but the way it happened actually ended up being better. Favre was reduced to an impotent spectator, a ceremonial old Indian warrior like Sitting Bull touring with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show at the end of his life, trotted out there by the white man’s circus to holler at a coin toss and then to stand worthless and ruined on the sidelines while his culture and team were violently driven into irrelevance by the rise of the new and the relentless. The tide of the Lions cannot be stopped. It is inexorable and it is our Manifest Destiny to conquer the entirety of the NFC North and if the old warrior Favre had to be destroyed and humiliated in order for that to happen, well . . .
I won’t gibber on about Favre too much. I know everyone is sick of him. I have been sick of him since 1992. The announcers spent the entire 4th quarter blowing him to the point that I was worried that John Lynch was reading a prepared statement in the booth forced upon him by a desperate and broken John Madden, a gun pointed at Lynch’s head while Madden uselessly mashed his withered old penis with his one free hand and wept tears of bitter longing and sadness for his beloved Ol’ Gunslinger. I told the little men on the TV to shut the fuck up several times and I would have muted the end of the game but fuck them, this was not about Favre, this was about the end of an era of pain and humiliation and about the beginning of something new and beautiful. His presence was merely symbolic, a necessary old Indian relic trotted out, defanged and neutered, to reinforce the new truth, which was that the old world was extinct and that the new world belonged to us.
I have struggled with writing this. You wouldn’t think so since it is the culmination of a grandiose vision I had laid out several weeks ago, but now that it is over, I’m not sure what there is left to say. I said it all in the last few weeks. In a sense, I wrote about this game and what it meant long before it even happened. There was a certain hubris in that, a certain idiot’s arrogance, and in any other season over the past twenty years I would have expected to get cruelly and hilariously smacked down by Fate. But not now. I trusted in the Symmetry of Fate and I left my nuts hanging exposed for everyone to see and swat at with flaming baseball bats wrapped in barbed wire, and I refused to waiver. And now it’s over, I still have my nuts and for once my faith was justified and I don’t really know what to do. I really don’t. I don’t know what to say or even what to feel.
And maybe that is the whole point. It’s a whole new world, a whole new story, and anything and everything is possible. Perhaps I am struggling so much to write about this because the story is over and the new story has yet to begin. After all, I said in the preview that I like to look at everything I write here as being connected. Each post is just another small piece of the story, and I like to think that it is connected in some way with the larger story of the Detroit Lions. This is about one fan’s journey – and by extension, if I can be incredibly arrogant for a moment, the journey of all Lions fans – and now that journey is over and right now all I can do is rest and wait for the new journey to begin. The road out of hell has been long and brutal and terrible and at times it seemed like it would never end, but today it did. There are no roses or parades or candy or blowjobs at the end of that road. There is no reward. I mean, the Lions just finished 6-10, you know? But what we can do is finally stop, take a deep breath and close our eyes and smile and feel satisfied that we made it out and that we are still here. No matter what tomorrow brings, no matter where the next journey will take us or what will be written in the next story, we made it and no one can ever take that away from us. I’m a fan of the Detroit Lions and today that means something different than it did yesterday. It means I’m a survivor and it means that I have passed through the fires of hell and I’m still here, motherfuckers. I’m still here and I am made of iron and Hope, my heart is made of thunder and my soul is still mine and the world is laid out before me and anything is possible.