Sunday, January 23, 2011

This is personal

If this results in me having to face the paper's cyber firing squad for getting personal, then so be it. I'll worry about that later.
For now, I made a couple promises and they will be kept.
First, there's my long-time Florida friend Mel, a transplant from Brooklyn, NY, and a die-hard Jets fan. The times we've had on the bikes over the years.....  The promise was to give him a shout-out if the Jets made it to the Super Bowl. I'm hollering at ya, bro.
The other concerns my local friend Debbie, an equally die-hard Chicago fan, that got the same promise if Da Bears also made it. It's not right to shout at a woman, so here's to you, Deb.
But wait a minute. Both their teams lost, so why did I say that? For a couple reasons.
If there's anything better than a true friend in this world, I don't know what it is. Just because the scores of the games didn't obligate me to keep my promises, doesn't mean I didn't want to take this opportunity to do so anyway.
What does this have to do with sports?
Mel and Deb have something Detroit fans don't. Contending teams to root for. Love him or hate him, in just 2 years, Rex Ryan has transformed the Jets from nobodies into the talk of the country. They beat Indianapolis and New England on the road, and were dominating the Steelers in the second half before time ran out. They're young, and will be back. The Bears seem to plod along under the radar, but when the dust clears, they always seem to be around. Both teams have not only played in the Super Bowl before, but won it.
What do football fans in Detroit have? The Lions. Since the first Super Bowl over 40 years ago, the Lions have never even advanced to a game for the right to PLAY in it, let alone win it. They went 6-10 this year, a major improvement over years past. Their coach will probably get a contract extension, season ticket sales will rise, along with the prices, and fans will pack the stadium, clad in Lions' paraphernalia, to cheer the team on. If a 6-10 record for the Jets or Bears had happened this past year, the coach likely would have been fired, and the teams would have been booed off the field.
It all depends on your level of expectations.
Personally, I'm hoping Mel packages up a little of that Florida weather and sends it my way. His idea of cold these days is a lot different than mine.
And Deb? See you at the office.
A cold one once in a while is a good thing.