I had hoped to wake up this morning in a less foul mood, but nope... still seething. My anger and frustration is at a number of levels for a number of reasons. Sure, a lot of it comes from the fact that the Lions actually lost this pitiful game, but that's not the sole reason I am angry. There is no typo. I purposefully changed the title of my post from the Monday Morning Microscope to the Monday Morning Telescope. You see, in order to use the phrase "put something under a microscope", you have to be able to examine something closely. And in order to examine something closely, the first step is to actually be able to SEE WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING AT! Ahem... sorry. As you can see, I am fuming over not being able to watch the game yesterday. No, I couldn't even get the grainy, pathetic internet stream to work on my computer. I was left listening to the radio and following the POD play-by-play. Not that I don't enjoy some aspects of those elements, but it is hardly the environment for me to be able to really "get into the game". Since I can't give my opinion on the game because I haven't seen it, this is going to turn into a mini-rant... so please indulge me for a moment if you have one to spare.
Most of you have been on POD long enough to know where my allegiance lies and how deep that loyalty goes. Week-in and week-out, I spend countless hours blogging and combing the internet and television looking for information on the Lions. Football and the Lions in particular have become a genuine hobby and true love and passion of mine. Each year, the attachment gets a little stronger. But here's the real kicker. If I were to sum up all the time I spend talking, reading, thinking and writing about the Lions and then compare it to the actual game time... there would be a monumental imbalance. Think about it... the Lions usually only play 16 meaningful (and that's being generous) games a year, with each game lasting about 3 hours. That's 48 hours total. That's it. It's the equivalent of two measly days in an entire calendar year that we spend watching the Lions play. Hell, I spend at least 20 hours alone watching the draft. And I can probably say with a straight face that I spend more time than that in a single month talking, reading, thinking and writing about the Lions.
As of now, the Lions have played 21 hours of football and we have had to miss 6 of it already. That's over a quarter of the season that we've not been allowed to see. And for the idiot that's going to come in here and leave the comment "just go to the game and you'll get to see ‘em all"... I live 2 hours from Ford Field and have two small children. It's just not possible for me to get season tickets. I usually can only make one or two games a year in person. But see... I spend my money. I took my brother and son to the Vikings game and dropped about $400 on the weekend. Along with a jersey for my son, an authentic jersey for myself and miscellaneous other Lions paraphernalia... it adds up. I invest time and money and then get shafted when one of the only 16 gamedays do in fact come around. The emotional and monetary investment is not worth the very short amount of time I actually spend watching Lion's games. It's a dismal and confusing conundrum.
I'm not going to spend any more time complaining about the idiotic blackout policy. It won't do any good. They are not changing it, so we are stuck. Goodell and his staff will never understand the passionate fan and the investment, both emotional and monetary, that we sacrifice. We all know the league has enough money to subsidize the few stadiums that don't sell out. It's greed, pure and simple. It's disenchanting and segregating the fanbase of teams struggling to get better. But enough of this, because the problem is really the product we see (or don't see) on the field.
From what I could hear, the outing from the Lions yesterday was pathetic at best. What progress that had been made has been all but stripped away. They've regressed in every facet of the game. I knew they weren't going to be a good team this year and these games have confirmed that. But it now looks like we are going to have to endure another poor year next year as it seems that the talent base is still very, very rotten. How disheartening. I know that sounds very pessimistic, but I am just being realistic. They could still start progressing and get a few more wins this year, but I think that the progress is going to be slow and we may not be able to realistically hope for a winning club in 2010. We just lost to the worst of the worst... at home. The other three teams in our division are vastly better than the Lions. We have so many holes... it is beyond obvious now. Yesterday stripped much of the short-term optimism from me. I still believe that Schwartz is a winner and will eventually build the Lions into one as well. But the full magnitude of the Millen roster-wreaking havoc is now clearly and undeniably evident.
For me, I've come to a crossroads in my fandom. I cannot continue to spend as much time on the Lions as I have when I ultimately cannot even watch the game. It's a fruitless venture that is more unbalanced than Mr. Ford's mind. There are simply too many things in this world that are far more important and give a much better return. I have to know when to scale things back and for me, now is that time. Let's be clear about something, though... I am NOT publicly renouncing my fandom or becoming a fair-weather fan or even saying that I am going to stop writing for POD. I'm just scaling back my investment a little... selling a few shares, so to speak. I am going to take that extra time and put it into some of my more beloved stocks, like my kids and family. The return on that is immeasurable. I cannot allow my emotions and mood to be linked to something that can never live up to the hype and expectations I place on it. I need to find the balance between just watching and enjoying a football game, rooting for my favorite team and then walking away somewhat unaffected by the outcome. It's going to be hard to find that balance, but I have to try.
So with slightly less emphasis... Go Lions!!