Honolulu Blue Kool Aid is a weekly exercise in the credited writer’s nonsense. Reader discretion is advised with regards to the writer’s blatant disregard for the values of polite company.
The Detroit Lions lost Sunday’s tilt against the Baltimore Ravens in a plenitude of ways and means. First, they lost the game in 60 minutes, for any football game must last that long and is the sum of its part. Second, they lost in the final five minutes, and third on the final drive. Fourth, it was the officiating crew once more, and then fifth they lost to Justin Tucker’s miraculous, once-in-a-lifetime field goal; and they also lost to the ghosts and wraiths you believe curse the Lions, because only the Lions could lose like that you say.
We create our gods and spirits and curses; our faith fuels this miracle. Creation and divine are paradoxical, but let us keep our thoughts to curses. A curse is not anger nor grief nor regret, but it is also all these things given to a name, an utterance that you cannot wash off. The curse afflicts, but to speak the curse also returns its affliction and empowers it yet again.
Tucker was always going to make that field goal because the Lions are cursed. Because he hit it, the Lions are cursed. This is the circular, eternal element. This bites its own tail.
Like veins and roots and lightning and cracks formed by time and rain, a curse snakes and branches. There is no singular aspect, and its reciprocation is inherent. It inflicts in so many ways, and it is afflicted in turn.
Take now the Ford family. Lions fans curse them, but they also believe the Fords are the source of this curse that dreads the Lions and them. Both can be true; both must be true. Put aside your objectivity and reason; this faith in the curse exists and that is all that matters.
This is about how you—yes you, you belong to this—booed the Ford family.
It is fitting, so fitting that on a day where the Lions lose on an impossible kick, an impossible scenario done impossibly, on a day where that curse is once more invoked and bemoaned, that the Ford family was there, they were present and not just from their throne on high. Sheila Ford Hamp walked below, with the commoners, and she was mercilessly heckled, she was drowned out—and it was right to do so.
This wasn’t to do with the course of the game, but rather came at halftime. Calvin Johnson’s Hall of Fame ceremony was the center focus, and he was well beloved and well received, even as his grudge and feud grows behind the scenes with the Fords. But there with him was Ford Hamp, and while Johnson was beloved, she was reviled, and she was drowned out by the unwashed, the masses, the customers.
This wasn’t how it was supposed to go for Ford Hamp! Her plan was plain to see. This was a chance to turn bury the hatchet, to stand next to the resplendent legend and show us all that things were trending towards peace; the rift with Johnson would be clearly in the past, and she was the one who would create that bright positive future. This was the new Lions, and the errors of her predecessors would be put to history.
But the crowd, that riot had other plans. They saw a Ford, they saw the culmination of all the sins past and future and they reacted. This was a rare occurrence, an owner appearing here, and it had to be seized upon. They drowned her out and not even the hero Johnson could calm their lust.
And it’s right! Who cares if Ford Hamp was dealt a hard hand? Who cares if this was done by Rod Wood, or Johnson’s stubbornness playing into this? It doesn’t matter! It doesn’t matter because this is an irrational act, and you are asking for rationality in it. How dare you, you base scold!
Who is right in this conflict is irrelevant! It is irrelevant that the Fords cannot simply pay Johnson due to NFL rules, just as it is irrelevant that for Johnson this has become a far more petty thing than a matter of a few million dollars (and he has a right to be petty, you should try it sometimes, it’s so liberating). It was clear the mob wasn’t going to sit there and debate such intricacies. Johnson was Mark Antony, but this time he got to go on before Brutus could leave.
But the booing wasn’t just about Calvin Johnson. It was the sum of all sins, both earned and inherited. A curse is irrational; the failures of William Clay Ford and Martha Firestone Ford also fall upon Ford Hamp. Fair’s got nothing to do with it; this curse is an utterance that melds all these grievances into a thing so raw.
Woe behold, this is the curse resplendent. This is the curse that lay at the heart of the Lions, the hatred so sincere of those who own them. Nothing will sate this curse, nothing: you could even sell the damn team and there will be those who still find blame in Detroit’s great industrial and gilded family, these wretched Fords. This will never end.
You blame them for all these ills. That is understandable, even if it’s not rational. When Ford Hamp showed her face, the reaction was predictable. She had to know what this would be. She left her comfortable box from on high, she walked down here where everyone could finally release this energy. This curse has echoed forever.
Some Americans, particularly sports writers, have shown an alarming trend towards defending these owners in recent years (even more alarming when you consider that we are as a society awakening to the realities of this great unchecked wealth in other sectors of our great rational and modern society). There’s no logic in it, but neither is there irrationality either. It is but droll emptiness; it is a defense of the status quo simply because it is the status quo. There is no emotion to it but there is no honor to it either. A love of stasis.
“They own the team, they can do what they want.” Oh you are correct, you are so correct; but that oath cuts both ways. Remember, all things are reciprocated. “Nothing is true, everything is permitted”? Then so too are the commoners to boo, to fucking boo the shit out of these people.
The sport club they own is a great big toy for their rich inclinations; but it also feeds on the irrational emotions and hopes and fears and curses of those customers that give it value. If there was no attachment to this football club then it would be no different to some squad assembled for the Big 3.
You, you that low wretch in the mob, you hate these rich people. You should! They get to touch the trophies first. They’re using these teams to toy with your damn emotions! You’re buying fucking jerseys for $200 USD and team-branded Bud Light Seltzer, you wouldn’t do that if you weren’t irrationally invested, if you weren’t getting a damn hit from these dealers. Your life is short and you seek enjoyment and this team provides it. They set the table, but they also are required to play the part of the blackguard, and blackguards must receive hate.
What a strange twist of our current modern English language, that we now consider “scapegoat” a pejorative. This was a holy thing once. You placed your sins and grudges upon the animal and it is slaughtered for your good, for the good of all. We should love to hate the scapegoat. Any Ford will be this scapegoat, to bear this grudge to the lands beyond.
Those crowds will heap not just Calvin Johnson upon them, but this loss, this historic kick by Tucker that banged off the crossbar, that once-in-a-lifetime kick, the one that came after the final fault of the Detroit Lions; their fault to all the previous too.