We desperately need a break from the bad news concerning the Israeli/Hezbollah conflict. Speaking of relationships with Jews, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re sick of the Mel Gibson story already. Global warming apocalyptic freakouts are sure to continue until an apparently man-made phenomenon called Ã¢â‚¬Å“summerÃ¢â‚¬Â is over. What to do?
Bad news is everywhere, but thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s one bit of good news. If youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re a football fan, regular season action is mere weeks away, and then all our problems will melt away, at least as fast as our ice cream.
This is the time of year when men all across the country become giddy with anticipation, and for a change it has nothing to do with the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the season when men begin checking their remote controls for proper function, arrange a redundant backup plan in case of a systems failure in remote number one, kiss their wives good-bye, and do their part for the economy by bravely pushing Frito-Lay and Anheuser-Busch stock to new heights. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a time when blood, sweat, and tears are shed, and yet we bravely move forward undauntedÃ¢â‚¬â€mainly because itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not our blood, sweat, and tears. Praise be, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s almost football season!
At this moment, the stadiums are quietÃ¢â‚¬â€emptier than Paris HiltonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s CAT scan photo. But soon there will be an eruption of humanity watching their heroes attempt to metaphorically prove how much better their town is than the rival town.
Obsessive football fans have already had the Hank Williams Jr. song, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Are you ready for some footballÃ¢â‚¬Â bouncing around inside their heads like musical Flubber since just after the Pro Bowl.
When football season ends, you can sense a distinct national depression among the male population. Some men jump straight into hockey season for an uninterrupted supplication of their sporting needs, but most go into a deep emotional hibernationÃ¢â‚¬â€a yearly slumber which this year is, thankfully, being facilitated by mid-term primary election campaign commercials.
As football lovers, with the exceptions of Steeler fans, weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re also concentrating on putting last year behind us. WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve wiped the slate clean. Your team didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make the playoffs? Forget about it. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the beauty of the sport. Every season starts anew, and hope springs eternal.
When I say Ã¢â‚¬Å“wipe the slate clean,Ã¢â‚¬Â I only hope thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s true for my team, the Detroit Lions.
In years gone by, when the Lions heard, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Are you ready for some football?Ã¢â‚¬Â TheyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve collectively yelled back, Ã¢â‚¬Å“No!Ã¢â‚¬Â Any football fan in almost any city has witnessed consecutive losing seasons, but not any that went on consecutively and lasted longer than it would take to ride your lawnmower to the Oort cloud.
Another reason IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m a Lions fan is commitment (in the literal and rubber room sense). In the LionsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ first season in their brand-spankinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ new $300 stadium, the Lions won three games there. That was $100 million per victoryÃ¢â‚¬â€thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s right up there with the upper echelon politicians. Show me any other city willing to make that kind of commitment to their team.
But it isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t the wins or losses that makes football greatÃ¢â‚¬â€okay, it isÃ¢â‚¬â€but itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s also the atmosphere and feeling of brotherhood that comes with being a fan amongst fansÃ¢â‚¬â€unless one of them tries to kill you. In the stadium, people from all walks of life (who could afford a $75 ticket and a couple of $9.50 beers), political beliefs and ethnic backgrounds come together and, alas, find that they have something in common: A desire to see the opposing quarterback treated like peanut brittle in Michael MooreÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s back pocket.
With the beginning of football season comes events and happenings that are purely American. Excluding Ã¢â‚¬Å“Girls Gone WildÃ¢â‚¬Â videos, where else can you see people put on silly big wigs, paint their faces, expose their chests, and whatever else, and make complete fools of themselves on national television? Sure, thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s always C-Span, but stillÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s almost here. I can envision game day already:
I can smell the ribs cooking on the barbecue, and see the people at a tailgate party consuming beer like thereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s no tomorrowÃ¢â‚¬â€because there may not be if the field goal kickerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s foot isnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t strong and true.
ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a man deep-frying a turkey in a gutted washing machine basin. I see a guy wearing a cheese hat, handing out Tostitos and letting people dig into the melting cheddar on his head. Another group nearby is bowling, using empty Heineken bottles as pins and knocking them down by rolling an empty pony keg at them. I look at my watch. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s only eight a.m. Still five hours to kickoff. Time to leave my house and head to the stadium.
Are you ready for some football? I am, and so is John Kerry!
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