Tomorrow is my ten-year high school reunion. It's scheduled for 1:00-5:00, but I'm positive I won't be able to hold out that long without updates! Thank goodness for Sprint NFL Mobile Live . . .
As I write this, it's already September 13th--the first day of the rest of the Lions' lives, so to speak. Matt Stafford, the new face of the franchise, will get his first start on the road against New Orleans. Pen will touch paper to begin writing Jim Schwartz's legacy as an NFL head coach. And, really for real, the 2009 Lions will either be 0-1 . . . or 1-0.
The reunion thing has me thinking--ten years? Why, that was the year that Barry retired . . . and the last year the Lions made the playoffs. In an interesting twist, they opened on the road against a extradivisional NFC foe, and then hosted a Brett Favre-led team; they won both games.It's been ten years, folks. Ten years since I was in high school. Ten years since the Lions were a respectable football team. Ten years since:
- The Roth IRA was introduced.
- David Cone pitched a perfect game for the Yankees.
- Dr. Kevorkian was convicted of second-degree murder.
- Star Wars: Episode I was released.
- George W. Bush announced his intention to run for President.
- The Euro currency entered circulation.
It's been a long, long, long, long time, people. Back then, I was in high school and had no idea what to do with myself. Now, I'm married, with three kids, a minivan, and a cubicle job. My eldest just started kindergarten, for crying out loud, and she was five years away from being a twinkle in my eye when the Lions last saw postseason action.The Lions won't make the postseason this year, of course--but they might just give us a reason, for the first time since Lance Armstrong won his FIRST Tour De France, to hold our heads high.
I'll be at my reunion tomorrow: hanging out at a local park under the Indian summer sun, reconnecting with friends long gone by, meeting wives and husbands and children that have sprung up in the interim. But I'll also be gathered around the bonfire with the thousands of Lions fans that have visited the bonfire during the long, bleak offseason. As I shake hands and hug with all my old classmates, I'll still be with you folks, sporting my warm winter hat, shaking hands and hugging everyone. While I'll be sipping Coke at the reunion, I'll be passing out mugs of warm mulled cider to just-woken fans who've come to see how big the bonfire got while they hibernated.
I'm sure there'll be moments tomorrow when the wind picks up, the snow falls, or the mood changes from celebration to commiseration. But the point is that we're here--for ourselves, for each other, and for our team. There's a lot to be hopeful for, and a lot to be hopeful about. Here's to Schwartz, Stafford, Sims, and company giving us a reason to believe that all these long, bitter, vicious winter months weren't braved in vain.