Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Two Words for the Lions: Pa Thetic

Our biggest problem with the Lions, I think, is that we're getting the worst of all possible worlds: we're getting one of the truly pathetic teams of all times...but without anything redeeming about them to make them loveable.

For a cross-sport comparison, let's contrast our situation with those of our neighbors in Chicago: the Cubs have made a tradition out of failure...but their fans still love them. There is, after all, something unique about rooting for a baseball team that everyone knows will fail in the end. And yet the fact of their inevitable failure draws people together, an exercise in hope as well as human camaraderie.

Here in Detroit, the situation is a source of anger: the Lions are many things...but loveable isn't one of them. There is little endearing about the way they chew up coaches and quarterbacks...and their draft choices have left people scratching their heads for years. They lose not by being adorably bad...but by making ill-timed mistakes and using badly conceived game plans, not dreadful enough to be pitied and cheered, but just untalented enough to be dreadful.

This year, though, they may crossed a line...or, more precisely, pushed their long-suffering fans across a line. But it's not the line from bad to loveable...making losing enough of a time-honored tradition to become the football equivalent of the Cubbies...or the '62 Mets. Rather, they pushed their erstwhile supporters across the line from angry frustration...to indifference.

There is much wrong with the team...and the town it hails from. Indifference isn't going to make either better. But given the chronic indifference shown by the team's management through the years---much like the self-dealing politicians who have driven Motown into the ground---it's a wonder that anyone really cares any more.

The hottest selling Lions apparel consists of T-shirts making fun of the team. Perhaps ridicule can succeed where loyalty and patience failed...but I, for one, am not holding my breath.

Neither, it appears, can some others:
We Are of Michigan

JEFFREY CAMINSKY, a veteran public prosecutor in Detroit, Michigan, specializes in the appellate practice of criminal law and writes on a wide range of topics. His books include the science fiction adventure novel The Star Dancers, the exciting second volume in the Guardians of Peace-tm series, The Sonnets of William Shakespeare, and the acclaimed Referee’s Survival Guide, a book on soccer officiating. All are published by New Alexandria Press, and are available on Amazon, as well as directly from the publisher.

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