Monday, August 15, 2011

the Universal Magnetics of Positivity (aka More Preseason Delusions)

While watching the Redskins preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Friday night, feelings of positivity started to wash over me, which made me feel strange and distrustful of my own self. First off, we all know that finding greatness in preseason games is like falling in love at a bar - it will end up ugly, one way or another. But more importantly, I know Dan Snyder and his sneaky, incompetent ways. If something is going well, it will be forced to go well faster, or a key part will be relegated to something else. It will be sabotaged. This is a psychological condition often seen where, even though there is no real reason to, a person causes themselves to fail, in the subconscious hopes of having someone call them out for failure. It's like they can't do it themselves, so they have to do it a roundabout, dramatic, idiotic way. That seems to be Snyder to me.
Friday night's game made me feel good though, not because they scored more points than the Pittsburgh Steelers, because I am no fool. This is preseason. But I felt good because players looked crisp at times (for the most part). Some things that were glaring issues last year seemed to at least be on the radar of being addressed, not ignored, or coddled with a fancy-named replacement. It looked like someone was actually building something for the first time since Joe Gibbs first came back.
Yesterday's Washington Post Sunday paper (which I buy in physical form because I grew up in a strange ancient world where you would sit around naked with a woman in bed half the day on Sunday, sharing sections, having sex, feeling the late summer breeze blow through the window just enough to barely ease the sweat comingling together on each other's skins; you can't do that with smart phones) had a long piece about how though Shanahan is happy with the direction things are going, he is not satisfied at all, and he told Snyder if he wasn't here for five years, then don't hire him.
Now, I understand probably more than most how newspapers (and websites) are used as propaganda. Governments have done it forever, and it built the Hearst empire, and even though people are like, "OMG Fox News is so full of shit!" all news has been partially full of shit forever, as it always has an angle, especially if it's motivating factor is a profit margin. So a post-preseason victory followed up by a prominent "Rah Rah Redskins masterplan" piece in the Sunday paper has Redskins front office fingerprints all over it, in my opinion. These things are cranked out by public relations trained monkeys who know exactly what particular demographics they're trying to tweak up to get the most out of their dollar, meaning turn that one dollar into the most multiple dollars. It's scientific, insidious, uses all forms of information to set the conditions, and is what it is. So I don't think this "Hey, Mike Shanahan has a plan, let me get behind this thing," line of thinking I seem to be flirting with is necessarily smart of me. But it is what is happening.
(What the fuck? I asked my boy Will if I was too jaded at this point? I mean, I don't trust anything about the Redskins now. This is what it's come to. Even when I feel good, I feel like a goddamned fool for feeling good, like there's an elaborate joke being played on me, or I'm in a looking glass and all the rest of you are watching, waiting for me to feel positive about anything regarding this team, and then you go, "Hahahaha, you dumbass, they're going 2-14!" and it happens and I cry the sad tears of a fat kid in fifth grade with no humor skills to compensate for his obesity.)
But it certainly does seem like Shanahan is building something. And this does not mean I think the Redskins could shock the world and get a wild card. This does not even mean I do not think Rex Grossman and John Beck are about the shittiest pair of QBs to have a QB battle that I've ever seen in my entire life. But it does mean that it looks like the roster from positions 11 through 55 is getting fleshed out like it hasn't been fleshed out in nearly a decade. Back-up players seem like they are more than a Sunday newspaper fluff piece about how great they might end up being. None of this has start potential, though one might sneak through, and it doesn't change the fact we are most likely the fourth-best team in the NFC East this year. But it gives me hope that someone actually knows what they are doing, long-term, beyond the next big-name press conference.
How this affects me is I am a deep student of the metaphysical sciences, and understand the psychic fabric of the NFL. I have done extensive internet nerd research into these things, and it's shocking how often the tangible data backs up these psychic theories. On top of that, I know that each individual fan's psychic abilities come into play during games, and thus the collective psychic abilities cause universal energies to swirl in more beneficial patterns. This is written off by many as simple superstition, but hey, superstitions work for a reason. Even if it is just psychological, does that make it any less real? And a major problem with the Redskins since Dan Snyder took over is not just how he damaged the team itself through bad decisions, but he damaged the fans' collective psyche as well. I am a pretty good example of that.
Think about it... If you have a Steelers game where some dude who got cut from the Redskins is about to kick a game-winning field goal, and there's millions of Steelers fans around the country who not only want the guy to make the kick, but they know in their heart of hearts and down in their casein-encrusted soul that he is most definitely going to make the kick, that Shaun Suisham kick is infinitely more likely to go through the crossbars. Thus, when you have a fanbase with a damaged psychic factor, it in turn causes the team to get less of those breaks going their way, and becomes this self-perpetuating cycle of frustration. It's a hard thing to break out of. My man Neil's writing over the years of this website is a fucking documented example of how difficult it is to transcend that cycle, and the Lions are just now getting to where he can be confident they could go 8-8. That's only fucking .500! But that's how it happens.
(I always go back to the Monday night game a few years back where Mark Brunell through two late TDs to Santana Moss to beat the Dallas Cowboys. I consciously told myself during the end of that game they were going to do it, shot it into the universe, and those magnetics swirled around the aetherworlds and came back down into Texas Stadium and that shit happened. I do not pretend that I made it happen, because I know I am but a small finite piece of these Universal Magnetics, but I know for fact that it was less likely to happen had I not told the Universe from my decrepit little living room that it was meant to happen.)
So where do I put my psychic abilities as a fan? I can't get behind Dan Snyder, and I don't want to falsely prop him up with minor successes that feeds his enormous little-dicked ego into another free agent spending frenzy next off-season, mistakenly believing he is again "only missing one more piece." There are always those with minimal talents, whether it be at music or photography or really anything, and all they need is "one more thing" to make the music they've always dreamed of, or take pictures like they claim to see in their mind's eye. But you go back to them in two years, and they're still one piece away. The piece has changed, but the personal shortcomings have night. Lack of vision never gains focus with a new, high-priced lens to filter that lack of focus through. It's still lacking focus. That's Dan Snyder, and minimal success with a hodgepodge of players will only cause him to mistakenly think he's right there all of a sudden, yet again.
But I have to care. I was a fan of this team before any of these players played for them. I was a fan of this team before Dan Snyder owned it. What should I feel good about feeling good about?
I can feel good about a pack of dudes on this team who are not shit really, no super big names, a lot of fringe guys, performing as well as they can perform. If they have heart, I will feel heartened by it. Fuck man, if they lose every game this year (which has been suggested to me as a possibility by friends), if they are right there and show signs of being an actual competing football team, I think I can handle that positively. Last year, even most of the games the Redskins were close, they were not very close in the psychic sense of the game. In fact, a number of games they won they did not really win at all, as they were very obviously devastating psychic losses. Those things damage my hope, and the collective hope of all Redskins fans.
But Friday night made me feel better. It looked like something was different, whether it was real or engineered. And though the Sunday paper fluff piece made me automatically assume it was engineered reality and I am being tricked into thinking this team has somehow turned the page towards a new leaf, I am going to momentarily remain cautiously hopeful. This year will be a good year, even if we finish last in the NFC East, even if we are lucky to win five games. If this collection of players who seem to have actual heart for something more than a Snyder signature, if they can win or lose in competitive fashion, and show compassion for this stupid fucking distracting game of professional football, then I can follow along with that. But it's not following, it's joining, because just as the collective psychic abilities of the fan can (and has) helped cause the downward spiral, it can pull it back up as well. And I guess that's why I felt so good about a stupid fucking preseason football game on Friday night, because I felt like we were moving towards actually repairing our damaged collective psyches for the first time in a long time, and I felt like there was actually compelling reason to believe that yes, this Dan Snyder is still in charge, and yes he is a Hurricane Katrina of an owner, hoping to flood us with an endless barrage of over-marketed idiocies, but we are Redskins fans, and together with a full army of players, not just four or five marketable names, we can overcome this little man, though it will take years. But when you pause for a second and look up at the clouds and try to gauge whether you're actually feeling those Universal Magnetic patterns start to shift ever so slightly back in the proper direction, it makes you feel good, and there's no scientific explanation for it, but you know in your heart, yes good lord indeed that's right motherfuckers, we shall overcome.

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