Hop on the Bandwagon

Football is a huge gathering. There is no doubt about it. The TV ratings and ticket sales do not lie, even if one is not a huge fan of it.

You know fans are crazy about the game when everyone in a sports bar cheers and claps as one organism. When everyone comes in their favorite players’ sport jerseys. That’s what happened Monday night during the Lions and Saints game. The Lions won but didn’t make it easy. Drew Brees’ squad had one last gasp to tie the game after Detroit’s kicker missed a field goal that would have sealed it. They never came remotely close to scoring but immediately shades of the Green Bay game in which Aaron Rodgers threw a Hail Mary to the tight end Richard Rodgers in the end zone with no time on the clock came to mind. Richard caught it among several Lions and won the game for Green Bay. The Packers got this extra chance after a penalty was called on the Lions for a facemask on Aaron Rodgers, but replays clearly showed that the Lions’ defender did not grab the facemask. Thankfully, that didn’t happen again and we got a break. 5-9 still but at least they are not giving up.

The Detroit Lions are one of those teams that keep the fans coming back every season, even if they keep losing and losing and breaking our hearts. The fans cling to hope that one day they will finally put a run together and have a chance to win their first championship since 1957. Even winning a playoff game would be exciting, since they haven’t done that since 1991. They were in the playoffs last year but got screwed on a controversy call that gave Dallas a recovered fumble and the game, when the replay showed that the runners’ knee was down. Calls like this have been going against our lovable losers for years, two big ones this year, one against Green Bay, the other against Seattle.

Even if the Lions are out of the playoff race once again, we will still tune into them, clinging to hope like millions of other Detroit fans. “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid”, Uncle Jack tells me, talking about how the Lions get our hopes up every year and then totally hoodwink us with a complete letdown. In 2008, they went 0-16, and my realization that being a fan of this team was going to involve a lot of heartbreak, embarrassment, and all-around stinkers was soon unearthed.

One of my dreams (and I’m sure Jack’s as well) is to go to a Super Bowl and see the final two teams battle it out for the coveted Lombardi. That would be the ultimate celebration for him. If the Lions were in it, he would be going crazy. If they were about to win, he might have a heart attack.

Every fan needs a B team. That’s definitely true for me. When your favorite local team lays an egg, switching to the alternate lightens up the mood.

In football, that team would happen to be the legendary New England Patriots. The Patriots were the first team that caught my eye back when I started to get interested in the game. The first game I remember watching was the Super Bowl between New England and Carolina, that the Brady Brunch obviously won on a field goal. I was lying on the couch near the TV under a blanket. I didn’t even know what a first down was. Now I’m highly invested in the game, watching every game every week. Fantasy football has gotten me to know most of the players better and to follow along with who ever is on my team.

I’m definitely a sports fan. I love sports. They make me happy and are a great source of entertainment. The competitiveness and camaraderie can get lots of people talking at once.

My sports life started with racing and then gradually expanded into other areas. I’ve been through my ups and downs with various teams, have witnessed championship seasons and absolutely pathetic ones. When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, I immediately started to like baseball more. When the Tigers ran to the World Series in 2006, a whole legion of fans suddenly were ecstatic, many jumping on the bandwagon. I got into basketball when the Pistons won the title in 2004 but haven’t had much to cheer for since because of them sucking so bad. The Red Wings won the Stanley Cup in 2008 and hockey was a newcomer to my interests. I never really got into that sport, mostly because it’s hard to follow and the teams are so evenly matched anyway that it’s hard to tell who’s good or not.

Okay, so I’m not a crazy, crazy sports fan. I wouldn’t paint my face or dress up in silly costumes at a football game. I’m a normal fan who just watches the game and enjoys it. I don’t get morbidly upset when a team loses, because there is always tomorrow. When Michigan lost to Michigan State on that botched punt, I obviously was depressed but after so many sports letdowns, just chalked it up and said “that’s life.” Sports aren’t everything after all. I used to get so upset over losing that sometimes I would flip the TV off or storm out of the house, like I did when the Tigers blew a game in the ninth inning. I vent my frustration now by focusing on the positives, not by immediately jumping off the bandwagon.

There is always going to be a couple of stormy days but eventually you will find a beautiful rainbow after the rain clears up. Optimism is what gets you through the bad times and with sports this could not be any truer. That’s the beauty of it all.


In Response to the Daily Prompt: Fandom

Are you a sports fan? Tell us about fandom. If you’re not, tell us why not.

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Crazy Association

So I was going to write a post about football in the NFL starting up again, and it is a crazy association. There is always controversy going around in the league with cheating, murders, marital abuse, rogue officiating, and more but the blood is always cleaned up nicely by Goodell and co. The fact that they let Adrian Peterson back into the league after he brutally beat his four year old son with a tree branch (switch, it was called) last year and the league and fans are cheering for him like he’s a great guy is very awful. It was even worse than Ray Rice hitting his wife in the elevator and he’s still not back in the league. Michael Vick came back after serving a lengthy sentence given to him after his dog fighting scandal (Doggate, I’ll call it, going with the usual naming of scandals with the -gate on the end) and he is still trying to find a team that he can succeed with, his short time with the Eagles putting up question marks in my book. Adrian Peterson served his time, but I’m not going to cheer for him or wear his jersey anytime soon.

Fantasy football is back. Yeah! And I’m most likely going to lose my first game today since my offensive players didn’t do much at all, Sammy Watkins getting a 0.  It sucks losing to a guy who had a player active on his roster that is currently suspended, Le’Veon Bell for the Steelers. My opponent just had a better day than me overall. I’m also playing DraftKings and have put in $25 to play two contests, one being free with my deposit, the other costing $3. I know I don’t have much of a chance against some of the more seasoned veterans of this get rich quick game but I almost had to give into the pressure of playing after seeing the commercials play over and over again on TV during games, conjuring up false hopes of getting rich all around. This is not wasteful money, this is trying money, money I’m putting into trying something new, trying to better my life I guess. I’ll be very careful not to spend more than I can afford and if I do start developing a problem, LOOK OUT, I’ll be heading to Gamblers USA in no time.

My Detroit Lions lost today to the San Diego Chargers. Waah 😦 They had a big lead but the offense stuttered and the defense became very porous, allowing the Chargers to quickly score touchdowns and take the lead for good. The Lions got a quick touchdown from Matt Stafford’s arm with about one minute to go to cut the lead to one score and tried an onside kick (for non-US bloggers, that is when the kicker squib kicks the ball and has it go at least ten yards, trying to get his team on one side to recover it while the team on the other side scrambles for it as well) but failed with it bouncing off a Chargers hand and going out of bounds, ball going to the opposition. My uncle was disappointed, I was disappointed, a whole fanbase of hopeful Lions fans were disappointed, many of them jumping off the bandwagon before the season even gets going. So they’re 0-1 and fans are saying “shades of 0-16” again and getting out the paper bags. Shame on you. The team’s still in it, they just have to clear some things up on defense and not fall apart on offense. Newcomer Ameer Abdullah had a magnificent debut, getting almost 100 total yards of offense with a touchdown and he looks promising if he can stay healthy. The Lions haven’t had a running back since Barry Sanders that has broken out and become a star, and I won’t believe this guy can do that until he can stay in the league for at least 5 years.

American football is a crazy game and has some of the craziest and most loyal fans around. Watching your team every Sunday, and sometimes on Monday, Thursday, and Saturday going to war against another team is a huge event. Every game is like a chapter in a book, a story being written and going all the way to the Super Bowl in February. For some teams, the book ends early and goes on the shelf with the rest of the volumes in the team’s history. For others, there are bonus chapters followed by an epilogue explaining how that team won it all and had the best year of their life.

Super Bowl 50 is this year. I still don’t know who will lead the halftime show but Bruno Mars is rumored to perform again. I guess it wouldn’t be that bad if he performed for the second time in three years, since his last appearance was magnificent and overally charismatic, hitting those drums like a chimpanzee.

I was betting on Taylor Swift to perform this year but maybe negotiations didn’t go through with her and she declined. She’s very particular and probably thought the idea of doing a football halftime show was “cheesy”. That’s what I think, who knows what she was thinking.

So here’s to football, beer, cheerleaders, fantasy football, ups and downs, and everything else in between. It’s going to be a great season. See you in February.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Fun Platform.”

Inspired by JNW topic generator