Monday, December 26, 2011

A Tuft Of Grass Through The Concrete

This was my sister's gift to me for Christmas:
A couple things about my sister. She and I are not too similar. To begin with, she has the skill, patience and creativeness to make something as awesome as this. If I were to try and make something like this, I'd likely quit after failing to thread the needle, smash the picture frame, and helplessly cry for an hour. But one of the biggest differences between my sister and I is that, despite being dragged to the Silverdome countless times, she managed to escape our family without Lions Blood coursing through her veins. So when she made this for me, I'm sure her thought was that this was a cool quote from my favorite comedian of all time (and she's absolutely correct). But, of course, upon opening this the morning after the Lions clinched their first playoff spot in over a decade, my mind immediately went to football.

The past ten years, we had all been trapped in concrete. The pain and suffering from the Mi**en era had left us immobile and in a dark, dark place. As a fanbase we came up with curses to ease the pain, and eventually we just embraced our fate. We were the Detroit Lions and we would always be stuck here. No beacon of light, no seedling ready to sprout., no chance. Regardless, we stuck around. What choice did we have? This was who we were and any effort to change that felt unnatural and dishonest. 

So we embraced the tar-like darkness. We hoped one day we would witness a fracture in the concrete, but at the same time, felt it would never come. We saw the franchise try to plant seeds. One by one, they all shriveled without even the hint of sprouting. Every time our optimism was met with disappointment, we seemed to sink deeper into the concrete.

But then we planted this seed. It was risky. Many (including myself) thought it was too early and the conditions weren't right for this seedling to grow into anything meaningful. "Let's make sure we have the perfect conditions before we go buying and planting a seed like this," they'd say. And for the first couple years, those people seemed correct. That seed went through Hell. It was bruised, battered and left for dead. We all felt that all-too-familiar feeling as we sank deeper into the smothering tar. 

But through the carnage we saw a resilient seed. We saw it hang around, despite being badly deformed in Cleveland. We saw it stick-it-through despite its fruitful season being cut short twice. We saw it survive one of the longest droughts we've ever witnessed. And throughout this seed's maturing process, we failed to notice that several other seeds had been planted and had started to crack the foundation of our blackened tomb. 

Then last year, we saw the first signs of vegetation. The Lions had won in four straight weeks and the tiniest of sprouts peeked through the crumbling concrete. Some doubted the potential of the sprout, thinking the sapling was still years away from becoming anything useful. But some noticed that this sprout had grown not from this risky Stafford seed, but from his supporting cast. If this Stafford seed could finally bloom into some vegetation, we may finally be freed from this prison.

And that's exactly what happened. A year later, there is no concrete, there is no smothering tar. The Stafford seed hasn't grown into a potential-filled blade of grass. He's a freakin' Redwood. He's a hero. 

And his heroism has freed us from the past. No longer is the future some inconceivable notion beyond the darkness. The path to glory is not only visible but attainable. The sky has always been the limit, but now we can finally see the sky through the evaporated darkness; now we're reaching for it. 

And as fans, we deserve a lot of credit. While seeds of the past have come and gone, we have had the displeasure of staying here, stuck in neutral. Some of the older seeds have survived seemingly endless droughts, but none compare to what we've endured. We have weathered the toughest storms known to man. We stuck through it when hope had endlessly been given and taken from us. And throughout the fruitless years, our devotion was tested, but it never wavered. It was that devotion that ultimately drove the seeds to finally bear fruit. And for that, we're all fuckin' heroic. Now let's keep growing towards the sky.

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