Four playoff teams? Too much to ask.

I do realize my last 2 posts have been about sports, but as they say – you write about what you know.

You’re in luck: I won’t be posting about too many topics. ;-)

So, here we are in Detroit – home of the 10-time Stanley Cup Champion Detroit Red Wings and the 3-time World Champion “Detroit” Pistons (quotation marks for proper effect, as the team plays way up north – near the thumb, I believe – and are as much ‘Detroit’ as the West Bloomfield High School girl with her ‘313’ bling… more on that later). Two solid, successful playoff teams. You can pretty much count on an extended season every June with these guys.

And then, there’s the Lions and Tigers.

Oh my.

The Lions haven’t seen the post-season in a decade, and the Tigers… well, the Tigers are usually out of contention sooner than the Red Wings. It’s been a bit dismal living in the Stadium district the past 5 years. Adams Street, which runs directly south of Comerica Park and right into Ford Field, has been dubbed “Losers Lane” by cynics. Our poor kitties.

Yet, lately, our two last-place teams have some serious cause for optimism. As Blood, Sweat & Tears once sang, “Something’s comin’ on, don’t know what it is but it’s gettin’ stronger…”

Our beloved Tigers are at .500! Are you kidding me? Did someone lose the calendar? It’s way too late in the season for these kind of shenanigans. Only 4 games out of the Wild Card? As Keanu Reaves said in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, “Something strange is afoot at the Circle-K.”

And the Lions? Why, they’re being picked to win the division by some pundits. “These cannot be men of honor,” you say with a grin. “They must be hanging out with Bob Novak.”

Yes, there is some Kool-Aid going around, to be sure. It’s amazing, though, to see the difference in this part of town that I call home. It’s noticeably busier; rationally, I suppose, due to increased traffic when a team is winning. But it’s more than that.

See, this city hangs it’s hopes and dreams on their sports teams. Some say its pathetic, and I find it hard to disagree on a logical level. Emotionally, though, it makes sense. See, the people of this metro area don’t have a lot in common. This is one thing that bonds us together. Non-sports fans fly car flags at playoff time. Grown men – strangers on any other day – hug each other, regardless of race (or even odor!) It’s what binds us. It makes us whole, and gives us a broader purpose unfulfilled in the boardrooms and meeting halls and freeways. We basically trust these few selected men – men who hail from all over the globe, and rarely Detroit – to represent all of us equally. A black man who has never seen or watched hockey can feel pride when the Wings win. A mousey librarian can stand a little taller when the Lions win. A young girl from the suburbs with no interest in basketball whatsoever wears a Pistons championship hat.

And you know what that says to the world? We are ONE.

Even if only for 60 minutes.

Or whenever the cheese dip runs out.

9 Comments so far

  1. diogenes (unregistered) on July 28th, 2005 @ 12:48 am


    Nice post. Seriously. I am ambivalent about sports. It is really pissing me off; the lockouts and the doping and the fan fighting – but when you said, “See, this city hangs it’s hopes and dreams on their sports teams. Some say its pathetic, and I find it hard to disagree on a logical level. Emotionally, though, it makes sense. See, the people of this metro area don’t have a lot in common. This is one thing that bonds us together.” a light went off in my head. That really makes a lot of sense….hmmm. Maybe I’ve been too hard on sports fans for being too goofy; maybe they just use this as a cheap fix towards unity because the real thing is so messy.

    Who knew a sports post would make me think [playful jab] ;)

  2. lance (unregistered) on July 28th, 2005 @ 6:23 am

    I wouldn’t say that the city “hangs their hopes and dreams on their sports teams,” but people do seem much happier, maybe too happy, when teams are winning.

  3. Chris Rohn (unregistered) on July 28th, 2005 @ 8:14 am

    Your comment about the West Bloomfield girl wearing 313 bling is priceless.

  4. DL (unregistered) on July 28th, 2005 @ 11:26 am

    Ain’t nothing like dat 2-4-8! :)

  5. jeremy (unregistered) on July 28th, 2005 @ 12:36 pm

    The “Detroit” Pistons actually play in Auburn Hills, which is about 31 miles outside of the city of Detroit.

    I’ve always had a beef with professional teams who don’t play in their hometown, but from what I’ve heard – there are plans to bring them back downtown, considering the (financial) success associated with Comerica, Ford Field and the Joe.

  6. mark (unregistered) on July 28th, 2005 @ 4:55 pm

    No to be racist or profiling, but why are Detroit’s stadiums for commonly Black sports in (or used to be in)predominantly white neighborhoods and vice-versa?

  7. Bobby (aka UrbanTiki) (unregistered) on July 28th, 2005 @ 6:34 pm

    You know, Mark, it’s an astute question — but the answer might not be about race at all. I think, rather, the building of these stadiums was all about economics. I really do.

    If you look and where and when they were built, I don’t think you’ll find any correlation.

    I don’t want to be wrong, but I’m open to a counter argument.

  8. observer (unregistered) on July 30th, 2005 @ 7:28 pm

    “Its on like Donkey Kong”! I just bought my first piece of Red Wings appareal in 1 1/2 years today. A cap from Hocky Town Authentics.

  9. Mr.K (unregistered) on November 6th, 2005 @ 11:57 pm

    Nice post

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