I am a passionate dude. This might help to explain the talk of hangings and ether huffing that went on earlier this week. But my passion is also tempered with reason. I like to let my passion take me to the edge of madness and then I like to peer over that edge while my reason desperately hangs on to me and makes sure that I don’t fall over. In some ways, I suppose this makes me an emotional daredevil. I’m willing to explore my own feelings to the point of near madness, trusting that at some point I’ll be rescued by my big beautiful brain.
And so it goes with my sports fandom. Perhaps there is no better medium in which to explore my passionate side than sports. In the end, it is a relatively harmless pursuit, devoid of real consequences, but rich in feeling. It is ritualized warfare, symbolic death and rebirth, and when it comes to my sports fandom I dance on the edge of reason and madness with a weird smile on my face, tiptoeing into thin air and freefalling before my reason reaches down to save me yet again. Fandom is a condition marked by a thousand deaths and a thousand rebirths, which given my fascination with the timeless dance between passion and reason which I just gibbered on about, might explain why being a fan is so irresistible to me. Every week, I go into a game knowing that I might die, but I also know that eventually I will be reborn and then it will be time to dance that dance all over again. I suppose, among other things, this makes me a masochist, but fuck it, I’m a lot of things, and at least this helps to explain how I have managed to remain a fan of the Detroit Lions for so long.
My point – and I promise there is a point hidden somewhere in all this madness – is that on Sunday, and for most of this past week, I experienced one of those tiny deaths, one of those little explosions of feeling, which sent me careening over the edge yet again. But now, I think, I’ve been pulled back by reason, reborn into a world in which the Lions are still 5-2, heading into a game against the shittastic Broncos, a game they should win without too much trouble (if they can’t, get ready for a whole season of tiny deaths and wild madness) and then they have a bye-week before games against the Bears and their offensive line which is made up of broken dreams and sadness and against the Panthers, which means that at worst I think the Lions should go into the Thanksgiving game against the Packers at 7-3. Which means that once again, I find myself delightfully . . . alive.
I’m about to get weird here (well, weirder anyway . . .) so hang on and if you need to take a shower or gouge out your eyes or your brain halfway through, I understand. Okay, ready? Anyway, sports fandom is kind of like sex (here we go . . .) By that I mean that when it’s done right, it’s exhilarating as hell, it leaves you flushed and breathless and, uh . . . sticky? No, I went too far. Anyway, sex at its best can be dirty, nasty and it can feel completely out of control. Sports fandom at its best feels kind of the same way. You’re not entirely sure what’s going on, you just know that your heart’s beating faster and that everything is leading to a crescendo and an explosion of feeling. That’s why the French call an orgasm la petite mort, which means “the little death”, because at its best it is a spiritual release, an embrasure of every feeling in the human spectrum, everything from utter madness to sublime stupid joy. Only a great fool would try to sum up an orgasm, but, well, I am a great fool. Only a bigger fool would compare this to the joys and sorrows of sports fandom, but, well . . . here we are.
Indeed. The truth is, is that sports fandom is a lot like sex even if you strip it of all that horseshit I just wrote. A lot of the time it’s vaguely disappointing and you end up needing to get drunk afterward or you end up mumbling some weird gibberish and getting the fuck out of there before anyone sees you cry. Wait . . . I have said too much.
No, but really, after every little death comes a little rebirth and that’s the part of the joy of both sex and sports fandom. Pain and pleasure are temporary, ephemeral things, and I could get even weirder here but then I’d probably have to start posting as the Marquis de Sade and nobody wants that, do they? I didn’t think so. Anyway, both sex and sports fandom are only truly experienced if you let yourself dance on that edge between reason and madness, between passion and measured calm. Both are the purest expression of the animal duality of man, between the creature of science who believes in maths and the beast whose ancestors danced naked under a full moon and fucked until the sun came up just so the crops would grow.
Look, I doubt anyone is still reading, but fuck it, we’ve come this far and it’s too late to turn back now. Anyway, the ultimate point that I’m trying to make here is that you can’t be afraid to die those little deaths, to fall over the edge, to give into the madness and passion which makes the rebirth and the joy worth it in the end. You have to let yourself go and just . . . feel, and hope that you’ll come out the other side still intact.
I am not afraid to feel. That much should be obvious by now and that’s why I come across like a bipolar lunatic, because my sports fandom allows me to feel even more intensely than I do in other areas of my life. It allows me a construct to do that dance, to tango with the devil even while my eyes are watching God. It’s the stripping away of all those things we cling to in day to day life which keep us tethered to our own naked and dumb fears, our inhibitions and sad robotic routines, our quiet safety dances we do which ensure that we never feel pain or joy, just a comfortably numb fortress from which we cannot be besieged but from which we can also never escape. Sports fandom allows us to shed all of that bullshit and to embrace passion, to dream of the stars even while the fires of hell lick at the soles of our feet. Go big or go home, as Jesus used to say.
Okay, this has gotten way, way out of hand and I suspect it’s time to reel it in. In the end, this is what I wanted to say before I began this tour de force of gibberish: I’m not afraid to freak out after the Lions lose because I know that it’s just another tiny death, an ephemeral moment, and that rebirth is only a Sunday away.
Anyway, if I can extend this bizarre passion thing a bit further, since the Broncos are up this week, I figure that I have to talk about the Tebow child, and since the theme of the day is apparently passion, I guess it’s an appropriate time to say that the problem with Tim Tebow is that he is a man who denies himself his passions to the point that he doesn’t even understand them, and instead drifts through the world like a retarded alien sailor, gawking and gaping at each port of call in the hopes that the humans around him can teach him how to be a real boy.
Let’s get one thing straight: Tim Tebow is a good man. In fact, he’s a ridiculously good man, but he’s a good man in a very plain, very technical kind of way, the sort of good which at its core is almost amoral. That sounds bizarre but hear me out, okay? Tim Tebow seems like the sort of dude whose conceptions of good and evil aren’t based in anything the man feels but in a very antiseptic childish interpretation of good and evil. In short, his morality is not one born of experience, which in my mind is the only kind of morality which is worth a damn, or really, worthy of the word “moral” at all. Hence, to me, Tim Tebow is amoral, because his morality is born of something inhuman, of something clinical and cold which cares only for right and wrong as two sides in a black and white rulebook. Tim Tebow is a man of rules, and true morality at its core is complex and inherently chaotic.
In fact, if anything, Tim Tebow’s morality seems to be a function of his own denial of the human experience, which means that, yes, Tim Tebow has betrayed his own humanity and very well might therefore be the antichrist.
Hey, I don’t want it to be true, but there you go. No, but seriously, how can a man so averse to the passions which make us truly alive ever be a leader of men? How can he look his compatriots in the eyes, knowing deep in his heart that he is afraid to truly live? How can he ask them to die beside him when he won’t even risk la petite mort?
And that is why Tim Tebow is ultimately a fraud and why he is doomed to fail. Men won’t follow him because there is nothing to follow. He is asking them to follow a rulebook, not a man. Kenny Stabler was a leader. Bobby Layne was a leader. And that was because they weren’t afraid to live, and therefore feel and know and understand. Matthew Stafford is a man of that cloth. At least I think he is. Take away all the physical gifts and that’s the difference between Stafford and Tebow and that’s why I’m glad one is my quarterback and one belongs to the soulless freaks of Colorado. Matthew Stafford is as much my quarterback as Tim Tebow is not, and that is why I am fully confident that the Lions will kick the shit out of the Broncos on Sunday.
But even if Stafford can’t play, the truth is that the Broncos are so shitty that Shaun Hill should have no problem whipping that ass. I would be shocked if the Broncos can manage more than 10-14 points against the Lions defense. Tebow was sacked 6 times by the craptacular Dolphins so there is a very real chance that he will get his wet dream and he will be crucified for the sins of the people of Denver. And that just means that all the Lions quarterback has to do – whether it’s Stafford or Shaun Hill or even the Grit Merchant – is make a few plays, and then go home. You see, the good news is this: whoever the Lions quarterback is can play as shitty as Stafford and the Lions offense have played the last couple of weeks and the Lions will still win this game. After all, the Lions have been using Drew Stanton to simulate Tebow in practice, which makes a lot of sense when you consider that Tebow is basically Stanton with a better PR agent. And I feel pretty damn confident facing a talent-deficient team led by a dude who might as well be Drew Stanton, you know?
I have yet to talk about the Broncos defense, but that’s just because there’s no real reason to worry. I recently read an article about the Broncos defense which said that their secondary is “evolving.” Evolving. That’s a nice way of saying that it sucks. It means that they are just throwing dudes out there, hoping against hope that something will work out. They can toss all the undrafted free agents and retreads they want on the field and call it whatever they want, but the reality is that aside from old man Champ Bailey the only thing their secondary is evolving from is from a shit sandwich to a turd salad. Meanwhile, sack artist Elvis Dumervil is hurt meaning that the Broncos basically have one pass rusher – rookie Von Miller – and if the Lions can key on him and (hopefully) keep him neutralized, the Broncos have exactly no one who is going to hurt the Lions.
Stafford or no, the Lions should win and win fairly comfortably. If they don’t, then it’s death metal for a while around here. That’s just the way that it goes. But I don’t think it will be. I just don’t see the Lions losing this game. We all died a little death last week, but after death comes rebirth and like I said before, that rebirth is only a Sunday away and this Sunday both our Lions and our hearts will be reborn and then we can dance, dance, dance and laugh at the madness which will suddenly seem so very far, far away.
Predicted Final Score: Lions 24 Broncos 10