The best part about being a Lions fan is that each win feels like a genuine joy. I mean, we know enough to appreciate each and every win, to savor it, because we are intimately familiar with the alternative (and by that I mean we served as the concubines to a parade of Failure Demons for more than half a century) and whenever the Lions win, however the Lions win, my heart smiles. The worst part about being a Lions fan is, well . . . read that parenthetical again.
Right. And that’s the thing. For as good as each win feels, it’s hard to let my heart soar completely away into the stars because I know I’ll just wake up tomorrow, chained to the bed by one of those Failure Demons and . . . awful, awful.
This season has been a colossal disappointment. I don’t think I’m out of line saying that. In order for the Lions to make the playoffs (and please, let’s not concoct scenarios in which the Lions missing the playoffs this year is somehow an acceptable fate) they would have to probably finish 7-2, which would put them at 10 wins and at least give them a shot at a Wild Card. Given what I have seen this season, the odds of that happening are somewhere between slim and get the fuck outta here with that nonsense. Which means that the Lions are almost definitely staying home for the playoffs this season which means that this season will be a failure.
I know that some people will try to massage that truth, to find some twisted sense of accomplishment in the lesser, but that is an embarrassing attitude and I won’t have any of it. I didn’t come this far with this team to start telling lies to my own heart just to try to obfuscate a reality that is too tough for me to face. That would be cowardly. And furthermore, that attitude is profoundly defeatist. It accepts mediocrity not out of some fucked up sense of loyalty but out of the fear of The Other, and in this case The Other is Hope, or rather what happens when Hope gets trampled into dust which I guess is just a convoluted way of saying The Fear. No, missing the playoffs is not good enough and goddammit anyone who says that it is, who says that we should somehow make peace with futility, who says that we should kneel before the Failure Demons and acknowledge their claim to our souls, is part of the problem, part of an attitude, a culture, that has kept us oppressed for way too damn long.
But I am getting carried away. After all, the Lions beat the Seahawks, Matthew Stafford returned from his walkabout, and to bray about such dreadful, depressing things like an obnoxious jackass is unseemly. I mean hey, it’s certainly possible that the Lions can get hot, go on an epic Fontesian run and sneak into the playoffs. Except probably not, and even if they do, that is not the future we were promised, and it’s not the future we deserve. I do not want to settle for that sort of schizophrenic ugly madness again. I don’t want to ride a rollercoaster of ridiculousness into a first round playoff obliteration or 6-10 every other season. I don’t want to have to constantly worry that that goddamn rollercoaster is going to run off its rickety tracks week after week, and I don’t want to have to scrape myself up from the pavement far below after it crashes, drag myself back into one of the carts and signal for the carnie to crank that fucker up and take me right back to the top again. Sure, there might be some thrills along the way but goddammit people are dead, can’t you hear them screaming?
I’m sorry. I can’t seem to shake this negative bent and I am sure that it is off-putting and I wouldn’t blame you if you called me a cocksucker or something and spit in my face. Well, I would take it kind of personally and I might spit back in yours but that’s only because I am a strict Newtonian and believe in the supremacy of physics.
Anyway, the problem is this: for as good as the Lions winning makes me feel, it is hard to let my heart truly soar because I am a battered woman and just because my man just came home with a diamond necklace doesn’t mean that all is forgotten, you know? At some point I know he’s going to get violently drunk and then his belt is going to come off and . . . the horror, the horror . . . and then Matthew Stafford will throw an interception or Gosder Cherilus will try to fight a fan or something and these things should not be accepted, not in a civilized society.
But they will be and we’ll hear all about how nothing needs to change and if we just believe in the talent – if we just love him hard enough – then everything will eventually get better. But to hell with all that, I have my bruises and goddammit this is bullshit. This is bullshit.
Okay, okay, okay . . . be happy, the Lions won. I am. The door to my heart remains propped open instead of being slammed shut and that’s a good thing. It is. Sure, at this point I resemble something akin to a zombie, just lurching forward, not entirely sure why, driven by some inane impulse that I can neither control nor explain, but that’s all I’ve got left as a fan right now and so I guess crazy zombie lurching it is. Perhaps if I can nourish myself on the brains of the wicked - you know, your common Vikings, Packers, Bears, etc. – then I can become a real live boy again and then maybe we can talk about Hope and Good Things and New Worlds and all that absurd bullshit I allowed myself to get carried away with last year.
I have explained myself and where I am coming from so many times now that I feel as if I have nothing left to say. The only thing I can do is hope that you understand and respect that and follow me anyway as I zombie strut into the future, bleak and bombed-out as I fear it may be at this point. I am not going to be a pleasant companion but that is only because I speak the language of Truths and refuse to make love to Delusion.
Today, the Truth is that the Lions won, and perhaps for the first time all season they deserved to win. That is kind of an incredible statement to make, what, 8 weeks into the season – Jesus! – and yet here I am making it. It was the best game the Lions played all year and it came against a quality opponent – or qualityish anyway, let’s not pretend the Seahawks are some juggernaut, although they have shut down opposing quarterbacks all season and Snake Stafford sliced them the fuck up so maybe I should be giving them a little more credit and also this digression and this run on sentence are getting out of hand so pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, he is drunk on his own weirdness again – and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t encouraged. This was the team that I believed in, the team that I hitched my battered fan soul to and dared to try to ride into the sky. They weren’t perfect but I never demanded perfection. Matthew Stafford was The Truth, The Snake, The Fighter Pilot, The Franchise, the whatever the fuck else you want to say, for the first time this season, the defense played well enough (perhaps damning with faint praise, but fuck it we cannot afford to be delusional here), particularly the run defense, outside of one UGGGGGHHHHH NOOOOOOOO run in the first half anyway, and the team’s parade of boneheaded fuck-ups was kept to a tolerable minimum. In short, it was good enough and good enough is, well, good enough for now.
The trick, though, is to turn Good Enough into Good Enough Every Week and if they can do that, then, well then we’ll see, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves and start blowing each other and passing out candy canes and blowing candy canes just yet, okay? This season has been reduced to a weekly fight to simply rise up, to struggle to our feet and dare to walk, not towards anything, not even away from anything anymore, but simply to move because stagnation is the enemy of life and I do not just want to lay here and let death and the Failure Demons take me again. The Future is hazy and for right now it might as well not even exist. We just have to try to get up, to walk, every week and hope that somehow, someway, we find our way back to the path that leads to the Promised Land. Today we shuffled forward, moved again, lived in defiance of the world below, and next week we will try to do the same thing. It is not what we wanted, not what we dared to dream, but it isn’t nothing either and in that simple Truth, I will try to find my way, just like the Lions did today.