Tuesday, September 28, 2010
This week's predictions were a mixed bag of stupidity. If anything, I have found that my predictions are consistently too optimistic, which is a horrific thought when you consider all the moaning and wailing I do. Still, sometimes I am surprised in a good way and sometimes I am just about right on and these should be satisfying but when your team just lost for the 34th time in 36 games it's hard to find any solace or comfort in that. I thought I would be in a better mood today, but honestly, I cannot shake this horrible feeling. Maybe that's okay, though, you know? Maybe sometimes you have to let yourself feel the horror of it all so you can come to terms with it and try to move on. I am not going to put on a fake, plastic smile and pretend that everything's cool. It's not and that's that.
Different doesn't just mean wins and losses. Different doesn't just mean finally winning on the road. Different doesn't just mean making a surprise playoff run. Different means not playing it safe when you've got a chance to score a touchdown before the end of the first half. Different means first downs and moving the ball effectively down the field. Different means looking like you're in the fight. Different means . . . different. It's a feeling. It's an attitude. And right now, well . . . things don't feel so different. It doesn't feel like 2008. God no. But it does feel a lot like the years leading up to 2008. It doesn't feel like we're moving towards something this season so much as it just feels like we've found ourselves trapped in some sort of infernal loop. It feels like 2003 or 2004 and the team is still young and we're still growing and this thing is gonna take time and look at the young talent and you can't expect success so soon after bottoming out and take the wind and if Joey can just get it going and spark a 4th quarter comeback and pad level and playing the right way and the car just crashed into a tree and we regret to inform you that your son is no longer breathing and the fire it burns it burns.
Intellectually, I know that's not right. I know that this time is different, that there is a plan in place and that we aren't going to be hurt like that again. I know that intellectually. But, it's hard, you know? You spend your whole life getting abused, getting beaten and lied to and shit on and it leaves you scared and shaky and incapable of determining what is real and normal and healthy. You don't trust anyone. You don't trust your own feelings. It's a mess and the only way to go through it is slowly and carefully. You have to pick your way through each moment and try to deal with the internal war between head and heart the best you can. It's awful. You can tell yourself all you want what's real, what's right, what's different, and you can convince yourself that you are a rational being who can handle this and then it's happening again and you're in the middle of it and you try to breathe and think but all that's there is a sense of panic and fear and there is nothing rational about it because you are right back in hell. It is not 2010 anymore. It is 2008 or 2002 or a million points in between. Your heart overrides your head and hope is just a buzzword and then you learn to hate the people standing in front of you now because you see in them the faces of the people who ruined you before.
This is completely unfair, that we brutalize those in our lives now because of the misdeeds of the people of the past, but this is just the way it is. We can be the smartest people in the world. We can be rational, and we can yearn to be hopeful and we can tell ourselves that we trust but we tell ourselves this when everything is calm. When everything starts falling apart, our hearts tell our heads to shut the fuck up and then it's war time every time baby.
All we know is pain and terrible failure. It's our reference point, our fallback position and we are a haunted people. Our ghosts haunt even our most beautiful dreams. We talk about Calvin Johnson with great pride, with great joy, but then we start bitching about Roy Williams and talking about Lions Disease or Lionization or whatever the fuck you want to call it. We talk about how Jim Schwartz is the chess master, about how finally we have a real head coach, but then he kicks a field goal instead of going for the touchdown and we start darkly muttering about Marty Mornhinweg and taking the wind and Rod Marinelli and pad level and Wayne Fontes and a plate full of spaghetti. We talk about Matthew Stafford and we get excited and we think - we know - that he's the man, but then he takes a checkdown and we start gibbering about Joey Harrington. We are a terrified and ruined people. We have been wrecked and beaten and we know nothing but pain and horror and Hope sure is wonderful but we cannot trust Hope because we cannot trust anything.
I haven't meant to ramble on this long but this is more complicated a subject than many people want to admit. It's not just about Hope vs. Despair. It's not just about winning vs. losing. The past will not let us go until we are in the future. And the future never comes. It's always today and today will soon be yesterday and yesterday is just another terrible day in the past and the future does not exist. The future will be today and then it will be yesterday and on and on and on we go. We will always be haunted by this. Always. Our most beautiful dreams will always be tainted by the darkness and we just have to accept this. Maybe one day we can move far enough beyond all that so that the darkness is remote and fairly harmless. That would be great. But even then we'll still know it's there and we'll always remember it and that's our fate as Lions fans and so be it.
I don't have answers. None of us do. Not really, anyway. Some of us are brave and some of us are too raw to be brave. Some of us will smile and smile and smile and keep smiling until our face finally cracks and all that's there is misery and tears. You shouldn't listen to me, though. Like I said, I am in a bad mood still and therefore this whole thing has been maudlin and wrongheaded and is the portrait of a man wallowing in his own stupid misery, but I have spent a lifetime getting beaten and I don't know what is real and I don't know what feelings are right and which ones are just inspired by The Fear. All I know is that on Sunday, it felt like it used to feel and suddenly the past was now and the future seemed like it was just an absurd dream meant for other people, for better people, for smiling happy shiny people with smiling happy shiny pasts and then it seemed like maybe the future is just the past and the present reinterpreted and maybe it's all the same and maybe things never change. But there is a flicker inside of my heart that wants to believe that it does and my head, fool that he is, believes in a future that is real and so I crawl up to my knees, bleeding and slobbering with dumb emotion, and I sigh and I tell the pain to go fuck itself. Yes, I've been hurt and no, I don't know how to properly process these emotions as a fan or how to put them into their proper perspective because my frame of reference is broken and useless, but I will walk forward because forward is better than backwards and somewhere out there is a kingdom of peace. Even if it isn't real and even if it doesn't exist and even if right now it feels like the fanciful dream of a retarded child, it has to be real, it has to exist and I am a retarded child.
Okay, Jesus. That was meandering and weird and changed direction there a bit, but I suppose I needed to purge. I didn't sit down with the intention of writing all that. It's just what came out. I'm glad it did, but it also means that I don't really feel like digging into the predictions right now. Maybe I'll do that later, but probably not. Or, and I'm just thinking out loud here, I could break down the predictions tomorrow and do a random thoughts thing on Thursday (of which I have many this week) but that would mean dumping The Adventures of Willie Young for this week. I suppose I could try to fit in an extra post in there somewhere, but I am already stretching myself to the point of insanity. I don't know. Leave me a comment and let me know what you'd rather see in the next couple of days and then we can go from there. Cool? Cool.