Sharing Sparks of Lions fandom

>> 1.17.2009

I love coffee.  In the midst of one of the most bitter cold snaps I can remember, with sustained air temps below zero, there is absolutely nothing like a hot cup of joe.  The smell of freshly ground beans, the steam rolling off the cup, the heat radiating into my hands through the porcelain (or, you know, wax coated 100% post-consumer fiber content paper).  This morning, on the way back from ballet class, my daughter and I stopped at my favorite coffee joint to get drinks for both us, and the rest of the crew at home.

Today I'd worn a Lions fleece-- partly to rep the Lions in the wake of the hire, and partly because it's warm and comfy.  One of the baristas there is a Lions fan, and he and I often talk Leos when I come in.  I'm surprised at how often we disagree, but that just makes me more interested to hear his take.  Over the past couple of seasons, I've definitely noticed him wearing less and less gear.  He does a lot more eye-rolling and sighing when the topic of Detroit football is brought up--and he doesn't bring it up much, either.  Today he even chastised me for wearing the fleece!  "Real smart move by the front office, hire another guy with no experience", he said.  Well, I'd hardly call seven years at the right hand of Jeff Fisher 'no experience'--but then, I was predicting playoffs at the beginning of an 0-16 season, so what do I know? 

After taking my order, he said something to the other barista on duty, and that guy said, "Oh hey, you're a Lions fan?  I'm a season-ticket holder!"  Thrilled to find a fan like that around here (south end of Lansing), I began chatting him up . . . only to find he's probably not renewing his seats.  A guy who's been coming to Lions games since he was a little tyke (and Barry Sanders was a rookie), even he might finally have been driven away by this godawful season. 

Well, I gave him this link.  It's not much--just one fan's fight to fan the little blue flame.  Just one guy at a keyboard, fingers cracked and bleeding from the cold, eyes squinted against the blown and drifting snow.  Just one guy striking the keys like flints, hoping that the sparks can catch.   Maybe it's futile.  Maybe it's stupid.  But in the depths of the winter chill, when PFT is saying that they think "'The Los Angeles Lions' has a nice ring to it", I think every little bit of heat counts.

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I'm gonna go make some coffee.

4 comments:

DrewsLions January 18, 2009 at 10:31 AM  

No doubt we gotta keep on keepin' on here, Ty. I've been saying for years that a bad team is better than no team. If the Lions did move... which they won't (it's too big a market and the Fords will never sell), it would be a horrible day for football fans in Michigan. Who do we root for then? Chicago? My stomach churns at the thought. Minnesota? It'd be a cold day you know where. Green Bay? I can almost not type those letters in that succession without getting nauseous, let alone root for them.

We are Lions fans, through and through. We diehard fans, of course, have no choice in the matter. I've blogged on this topic many times. I don't know how NOT to be a Lions fan. Football is the greatest sport on the planet and the Lions are my team. That combination breeds a desire for all things Lions. Honestly, the Lions could have back to back 0-16 seasons and I'd still be here each day talking about the daily happenings down at Allen Park. I can't help it. Most Lions fans can't. That's why we'll always be here.

Sure, the guys dropping several G's a year to get season tickets are going to be the ones to drop the Lions first. They are putting down the biggest financial investment. I live too far from Detroit to get season tickets, so my investment is emotional... and it probably hurts more than the financial investment. But at the end of the day, we Lions fans will be here through the thick and thin. We'll bleed Honolulu blue till the end.

Why? Because eventually this team WILL win a championship. And it won't be like a championship in Dallas or Pittsburgh or New England. Nope. It will mean so much more. It will be like a one-legged man reaching the summit of Everest. Chips stacked against him, he starts with nothing. His will and desire push him against enormous odds as he decisively plots his course to the apex of the world. Sure, it's going to take him much longer than the average climber, because he has started with much less. But slowly he begins his climb with much resolve. Detractors are many and there are times that it looks like he may not make it. Eventually, he will. He has to. There is too much at stake not to.

We must continue to root for them. I truly believe that part of the problem this year had to do with the fanbase chipping away at the overall moral of the team. True, the fans deserve better and the players didn't deliver. But each new year, we need to be back in full throat to help cheer on the new incarnation of our team. I too, try to chat up all diehard and fair-weather Lions fans. They, as well as the players, need the encouragement to keep on believing that a championship is inevitable. Hopefully, it's in our lifetime.

ClusterFox January 18, 2009 at 11:03 AM  

I'm always scanning the web for mindful Lions chatter. You guys might find this other site worthwhile as well. I've been following it for a year and half, and there is a good group of guys that frequent with great insight.

http://detfan1979.blogspot.com/

Just trying to keep us realistic but still optimistic lions fans together.

Clusterfox

Ty January 19, 2009 at 9:24 AM  

Thank you for that, DrewsLions. I've actually been pondering the question for a while, ever since I stumbled upon this website:

http://www.latakethelions.com/

Part of me wants to say I could find another team; I've definitely been a casual fan of several other franchises (I've always liked the McNabb-Reid Eagles, I've had a soft spot for the Bengals since the Esiason-Wyche days, I have some family in Tennessee so I often root Titans when AFC games are on). I've even gone so far as to declare that XYZ team is my new "second team" . . . but it doesn't last. It's not the same. I don't have the hunger to follow Bengals or Eagles or Titans. I don't scour the Internet looking for news. I don't bleed orange or green or any of the four or five hues of blue the Titans sport. There's Honolulu Blue coursing through my veins--always has been, always will be. Though it sounds crazy, I grinnned and laughed when I read your line: "the Lions could have back to back 0-16 seasons and I'd still be here each day talking about the daily happenings down at Allen Park". That's exactly right; there's no amount of futility that can shake me. Those bastards have me in their corner for life, like it or not.

It's funny that you bring up the championship . . . it's so weird because as a Red Wings fan, anything short of a championship would be a disappointment--and not making it out of the second round of the playoffs feels like a kick in the nuts. But with the Lions . . . a single victory, ANY victory would have been an achievement worth celebrating. Frankly, I cannot imagine the party that would be held statewide if the Lions won a Super Bowl. It would be like V- E day in New York, with sailors kissing nurses and everything. It would be a nonstop celebration lasting days . . . people would travel from across the state--I know I and my family would. Because really, despite the 'Hockeytown' moniker, and the way the state rallied behind the Pistons and Tigers for their recent and past runs, Michigan is a football state, and Detroit is really a football town--we've just been waiting fifty years to prove it.

You're right, man. It's not a question of if, it's a question of when. I hope it's soon. I hope it's while my children are still young. But even if it comes when I'm 92, I'll take it.

Peace
Ty

Ty January 19, 2009 at 9:27 AM  

Hey, ClusterFox, thanks for the link! You'll see plenty of me over there.

Peace
Ty

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