But last night was the worst. My posse and I headed to a Michigan haven in Los Angeles called Detroit Style Coney Dog. We were excited to join our Michigan brethren, hoping to celebrate the rebirth of the Lions team that laid secretly dormant through the first six weeks of the season. Instead, we were treated to more of the same. And to make matters worse, there was a handful of loud Bears fans trolling about. Why a few Chicagoans thought it would be a good idea to watch their team play the Lions in a place called DETROIT STYLE CONEY DOG, I will never know. All I know is that my stabbing instincts were at an all-time high. The fact that my criminal record is no longer than it was before Joique Bell fumbled that ball is nothing short of a miracle.
But beyond the slowly-fading violent urges now lays a beaten, broken man. The man who was once waiving the flags of optimism -- screaming that once the offense plays on third down or inside the 20, like it does on most other downs, things will be okay -- is now desperately waving anything resembling a white shred of cloth to stop the torture. I am the coach standing helplessly in the corner as the former champ I supported for so long gets pummeled, while everyone else watches with crooked cringes on their faces.
I looked at the box score for the first time a full 24 hours after the game. I saw exactly what I thought I'd see. The Lions should have won that game. They outgained the Bears handily. They averaged more yards per rush (5.5 vs 5.3), more yards per pass (4.9 to 3.4), were penalized less, (five to nine) and were sacked less (three to five). But the Lions turned the ball over four times to the Bears' zero. That's your ballgame.
I so desperately want to be the guy that points to all those previous stats as signs to be optimistic. I want to spread hope like it was the opium of the masses. But when Nate Burleson and Amari Spievey were both slowly carted off the soggy turf, they may have well been carting off whatever was left of my broken spirit.
At this point, I am the cute kid in "Liar Liar." The Lions offense is my fun, awesome dad. But, lately, my dad has been fairly absent. Seeing my disappointment, he'll be quick to rationalize his disappearances "I'll turn things around, I swear!" he'll plead. "Next week, I promise," he'll assure me. "All I need to do is STOP DROPPING THE BALL, ASSHOLE!" he'll shout while slightly inebriated. And for the first six games of the season, I believed him in my youthful naïveté. "He's not so bad, remember last year?" I proudly said, trying secretly to convince myself more than the doubters around me. But this week, it was my big day, and he didn't show as he promised. Devastated, I sat alone in the center of the faux-Coney Island, wondering how and why I had been deceived so. I finally saw the things those around me called me foolish for overlooking. I saw my father as he truly is: an unreliable, underachieving mess.
|I wish, for just one game, Matthew couldn't overthrow a fly.|
Of course, maybe the Lions offense is really the charming father that just needs a wake-up call to see the light. And, deep down, I know I still feel that way. He is, after all, my father, and will always be my father. But if he hasn't changed his ways at this point, why should I believe things will ever change?
The Lions season isn't truly over until they lose their seventh game of the season, but until things turn around, I'll be the teary-eyed Maximilian waiting hopelessly for better times ahead.