“…although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”
Ten games in to the 2012 season, the Lions have won four games and lost six. Jeff Backus’s 186-game starting streak is about to end. Nate Burleson will be in crutches, cheering from the sideline. Titus Young will be in street clothes, inactivated for insubordination. Jahvid Best may never play again.
Corey Williams is iffy, Aaron Berry is in New York, Bill Bentley is on IR, and Drayton Florence will likely be out with a concussion. Two of the Lions’ top three safeties are on IR, and the third (Delmas) likely won't play either. Everything we thought this season would be is lost, or nearly so.
Now, let us fill Ford Field to the rafters and roar thanks for all our blessings.
Last season was the first season I made the more-literal-than-usual Pilgrimage to Ford Field on Thanksgiving Day. I was not surprised to find the atmosphere as it always seemed at home, on TV: an extra-special mood of festivity, a wide-open expression of joy and pride, a welcoming, party atmosphere.
There's something magical about the Lions on Thanksgiving, doubly so when you're there in person. Through thick and thin, and there's been an awful lot of very thin, this game sells out. It’s an annual national celebration of blessings, and no matter how bleak things have been on- and off-field for the Lions, their fans turn out in force to spend all day reveling in the immutable fact that we are still here.
The Pilgrims themselves gathered ‘round with some corn and some eel and some venison and a few pints of homebrew and toasted their incredible luck at just being able to do so. It’s the same with the Lions and their fans: spit on the team, on the City of Detroit, the State of Michigan, on our way of life all you want. Dismiss us, deny us, wish us all to lose our jobs, whatever.We are still here.
We're here: 64,000 of us, 750,000 of us, four million of us, ten million of us, and we’re all wearing blue and fake turkeys on our heads and we’re going to raise a glass to one another and scream our fool heads off and you can’t deny it. You can’t take it away. We have our team, we have each other, and we are united in celebration of those simple facts; we are still here.
Whether you are there with me and mine tomorrow morning, or at home in the City of Detroit, or at home somewhere else, or visiting Grandma’s House, or even if you’re on the other side of the world: tomorrow we are all together, united in support of our team and each other.
There have been much, much worse seasons than this one. There have been much, much less exciting versions of our team. There have been much, much worse Thanksgiving Day games than this one will be, even if the Texans beat the Lions by more than the three-point spread. It’s not about the winning or the losing, though a win would be wonderful and a loss the final doom of the Lions’ playoff hopes.
Tomorrow, we give thanks for the blessings we have, and the blessings we have are so many: We have a team, we have a stadium, we have food and drink, we have each other, and we have hope. Always, always we have hope.
By the goodness of God, we are so far from want, we wish you partakers of our plenty.