Thursday, January 20, 2011

Well, Here We Go

I don't know what the fuck this is - I think it might be an ad for Converse - but I found it in my wanderings and I knew that I had to share it with all of you. I'm sorry?

Well, I’m back. Yes, two weeks have gone by, I have gotten refreshed or recharged or whatever the fuck you want to call it, my creative juices are flowing (ironically, using the phrase “creative juices” probably reveals that to be a complete lie, but what the hell . . .), and I have taken to writing weird screeds on Twitter about Regis Philbin murdering Kathy Lee Gifford and Edgar Allan Poe fucking Snooki, so it’s probably best that I start channeling some of that weird energy back in this direction. Of course, it would probably help if I had something – anything – worthwhile to talk about here.

And therein lies the problem. I could do a series of season reviews, which would be fairly easy content, but I exhausted the hell out of last season. I sucked every last bit of life out of it, mixed it with my own weird brand of bullshit and then vomited it all back up. I told the shit out of that story and there’s just nothing left. It’s all in the archives, day after day after day, and you can go back and read those if you want to relive the insanity. I cleansed myself of the mountain of pain that is Detroit Lions football. I left it all on paper, or on the screen, or whatever the fuck this is.

I know that comes dangerously close to sounding like “I quit,” but the beauty of something like football – of all sports really – is that is always evolving. The story keeps changing and so as long as you keep looking forward, there will always be something to say. If I kept wallowing in the whole “Same Ol’ Lions, woe is me” routine, the whole thing would become stale and inauthentic and corrupt in a way, and although those are ridiculous things to say about a simple blog, they are important to me because I am a stubborn fool and, although it may sound ridiculously corny and trite to say, without authenticity, this shit is just a collection of dumb dick jokes and half assed analysis. What makes the engine go is that this is a genuine reflection of how I feel as a fan of the Detroit Lions, and so as times change, so must I.

I guess that makes my struggle to come up with something to write about appropriate. Because, really, as Lions fans we are caught up in between two eras, in between two worlds, in between the darkness which has oppressed us in blind terror for so, so long and the light, which is almost scary and disorienting if only because it is so unfamiliar. The story of Detroit Lions football in our lifetime has come to an end. Or at least the chapter of it that was 20, 30, 50 years long. The pain, the constant losing, the ridiculous jokes, the constant ass kickings by Fate are the hallmarks of that story, and the best thing we can do as Lions fans is close that book, set it on fire and then shoot it into the sun. Fuck it. Fuck it hard.

But that means that it’s time to start a new story, a new chapter in our Lions fandom. Most fans of other less hate fucked by Fate teams are able to do this every few years. Things change and they change with it. We don’t know how to do this because we’ve never had to. It’s just been one loooooong and terrible neverending story of chaos and despair. But, like I said, all that shit is over now, and, well . . . now what?

I don’t know. That’s the only thing I can say. I don’t know. None of us do. This is all brand new and weird and how do you start a new story? It doesn’t make sense to look back at the old story, even if that story just ended. So that rules out all the reviews and “Hey, here’s what happened” bullshit that I could be writing. But there’s nothing new to write about either. The new story hasn’t really started yet. Well, it has, but nothing has actually happened. Right now, we’re kind of on that first page of a brand new book. You know, the one that is just a plain, blank white page? Yeah, that one. We’re excited as hell for the story to start because we read the back cover and all the reviews and there is a lot of buzz surrounding it, and goddamn, this seems like it’s going to be a lot of fun, but that’s really all we have right now: anticipation.

Unfortunately, it’s going to take months for us to turn the page and so all we have is that anticipation and that blank white page. This is a dumb metaphor but what the hell, I am confused and disoriented and it’s going to take some time to work all this shit out, you know? I am aware that I am being far too simplistic here. I mean, of course what happened this past season is going to influence things going forward. The blank page metaphor is flawed and so is the whole stupid old/new story thing I’ve had going on for a while. We can never truly escape what has happened in the past. It will always be with us, but I just don’t want to wallow in it anymore and honestly, as Lions fans, we can’t afford to. We have to take a deep breath, survey our surroundings, add up all the available data and either choose to believe and then swim for new shores or wallow in old, stale misery and then sink below the waters of rank failure and drown.

I have looked at what the Lions have built – at the promise of Matthew Stafford, at the beastly dominance of Ndamukong Suh, at the incomparable majesty of Calvin Johnson, at the explosiveness of Jahvid Best, at the collection of smart, focused people running the team, at the improbable run of excellence to close out the season, at the beautifully symmetrical way those last four victories played out – and I have taken that deep breath and I have decided to swim for new shores. I apologize for introducing yet another dumb metaphor into the mix here, but fuck it, that is just the way my mind works.

But that new shore is a long way off and right now, the sea is just cold and gray and boring and it’s going to take a while before any of us can make out what’s waiting for us on this new shore, in this promised land of milk and honey and candy and blowjobs, of sunshine and rainbows, of Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson touchdown bombs and Ndamukong Suh sack dances and a sky that is Honolulu Blue, stretching over a vast wilderness that extends farther than any of us can see, a new land where the promise of our wildest dreams can run forever and our hopes have no end.

We’ll get there but we’re not there yet. Right now, we’re just sort of dog paddling, anxious to get moving, and waiting for time to catch up with our desires. There will be things to write about before we truly get moving. I’m not really worried about that. I’ll have something up here at least once a week, twice on some weeks, maybe more if the spirit moves me.

I’m sure that next week I’ll probably end up having to write about whichever one of our dudes got all Kobe Roethlisberger on some poor lady. Goddamn. That is one story I just don’t want to have to deal with, you know? That shit is just unsavory. It’s terrible to say, but I will say it anyway because that is my role in this fucked up tribe of ours, but right now most Lions fans are just saying little prayers to their own dark hearts and hoping that it isn’t someone like Stafford or The House of Spears that is implicated in this ugly business. It is selfish as hell to say, but that would be a crippling blow to our fandom that would be tough to recover from, wouldn’t it? This is an awful thing to speculate about. It is ghoulish and ugly and fucked up. I mean, a lady was possibly raped, you know? Who gives a fuck about football? But still, we can’t help ourselves, can we? If it turns out to be some third string practice squad shithead, most of us will shake our heads sternly and then inwardly sigh with relief. It’s sick but it’s true. If it does end up being one of our heroes, well . . . shit, let’s just wait until this thing plays out before getting too far into this. Oh, if it ends up being Willie Young, I fucking quit.

Okay. So, right now we’re kind of in a weird place. It’s not a bad place. Far from it. There is more hope right now than just about any other time in my lifetime as a Lions fan. There just aren’t a lot of concrete things to say about it right now. The roster still has to take shape over the next few months and I will be here to shout hooray or to throw rocks and handfuls of my own poop at each move, so, uh . . . yeah, you have that to look forward to. This is something that is evolving. It’s on the move and it’s up to me to keep up with it. I’m excited. It should be a hell of a lot of fun and I just hope that you good dudes and lady dudes are as excited as I am. Well, here we go.


HSOMGF said...

You stretched "nothing to say" into 12 paragraphs. I'm impressed. ;-)

Your passionate writing has converted me into a Lions fan. They'll be my second team, of course; I was raised a Giants fan and I shall always be one. But I'm a convert, nonetheless.

Neil said...

It's true, I have the gift of gibberish.

And, awesome! Welcome to the tribe.

UpHere said...

Anyone who's old enough had an ancient relative who fought in WWII and never talked about it. I always guessed it was because the experience was so big, so emotional that words wouldn't cut it. We might have been through the sports equivalent this year. That was freaking exhausting - the refs, the hopelessness, the stunning, completely unexpected turnaround. I literally do not like thinking about it even.

(pls understand, I'm not really comparing watching sports to getting shot at while fighting Nazis. It's a highly exaggerated metaphor. Met. a. phor.)

Neil said...

Man, that's pretty much perfect. That sums it up beautifully. Every last word of that is true.

Also, I think I actually was shot at by a Nazi at least once during the season. And yes, I'm having to stop myself right now before I don't tumble off a cliff into the land of the wildly, wildly offensive. Use your imagination.

steven said...

Yup...see ..... it has come full circle...I mean i'm fairly old but.... if my memory serves me correctly (and it has been know to fail on more than 1....thousand+ times...minimum)

Hmm anyways my point.... wasn't at one time this year that it was postulated that the one and only feurher was a lions fan????

Or am I smokin crack (retorical, thank you)

Ty said...

My pastor once told a story about a woman he knew, whose grandmother had been a slave. As a small child, she asked her grandma to tell her about what slavery was like. All she would ever say is, "There's a dead cat up the river. You don't want to drink that water."

This post has me thinking. Hard. Thanks, Neil.


Neil said...

Sometimes, I make you think. Sometimes, I make you drink. And sometimes, I make you do both.

Maybe that's what we should all start saying to people: "There's a dead cat up the river. You don't want to drink that water." I almost guarantee I use that at some point instead of talking about the past. It will be a code that only makes sense to, like, 5 or 10 of us. You know, just like the majority of my posts.

Neil said...


Yeah, I wondered if Hitler had been a Lions fan, but then we got better so I figured The Great Willie Young must have gone back in time and changed history for the better. I'm guessing he turned Hitler into a Vikings fan, which makes a certain sort of sense if you think about it.

Mike said...

Welcome back, Neil. My daily Lions blog rounds have been boring as hell without you.

Something for you to think about for the next little bit; I can remember when Millen took over talking about how the Lions have a culture of mediocrity where we were all content to win 7-10 games a season, make the wild card, and lose in the first round as long as football was exciting. He came in saying that it was his mission to change that culture and to turn the Lions into a winning franchise.

Well (and I know I'm going to get some odd looks here) but he definitely accomplished what he set out to do, if probably not quite the way he did it. We (fans and players alike) won't just stop at being just a 7-10 win team anymore. We want a winning franchise, we want titles.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I'm happy we had Millen since there are so many ways it could've been done without his blatantly stupid management, but in some sick sadistic sense, he was a complete success.

It's kind of like that movie Jacob's Ladder. Maybe the Failure Demons weren't trying to keep us down, they were breaking us from mediocrity so we can actually *win*.

And dammit, we better win a ton, because it's been too damn long. I want next year to be here so bad I can taste it.

Neil said...

Thank you, Mike.

And yeah, Millen changed the culture, kinda like the A-Bomb changed the culture of Japan. Obviously, this means we'll end up dominating ruthlessly and efficiently until we are taken down either by Godzilla or an affinity to tentacle porn.

But really, I get what you're saying and there's some truth to that. It goes along with what I've been saying, which is that all the rotten bullshit had to happen before we could be reborn.

Mike said...

Yeah, pretty much.

In all honesty, though, it's probably just me justifying the train wreck the Millen era was with some "The night is darkest just before dawn" sort of bullshit.

Neil said...

Hell, man, I'm the king of tenuous justifications in the name of the preservation of sanity, so believe me, I get it.