Just Bill and the Mister

December 15, 2009

LONELY AT THE TOP OF THE BOTTOM

Filed under: Uncategorized — bknister @ 10:55 am
Tags: ,

 

The agony of victory has at last subsided, and I can now write about it.

Almost three months ago, on Monday, September 28, 2009 something perfect came to an end.  But nothing perfect can be expected to last forever.  It’s built into the nature of things that something flawless will eventually be marred and brought down. 

On that day came the end of the Golden Age of Failure here in our town:  After nineteen losses in a row, tying an NFL record, the Detroit Lions lost their way on the road to pro football immortality.  Instead of losing and thus securing unshared first place, they beat—no doubt inadvertently–the Washington Redskins. 

But out of a wish to salvage something, I see a certain negative perfection in this.  Failure is the only kind of perfection the Lions deal in, so, had the Lions lost one more game, thereby achieving an unshared record of sequential defeats in the NFL, they would have been out of step with the essence of mediocrity.  Real mediocrity calls for sacrifice—in this case, an unshared record.  Hence, mediocrity was achieved when the Lions won.

 As one columnist put it, the sighs of relief drowned out the cheers of victory.

 All the principals were interviewed.  Even the team’s owner, Mr. William Clay Ford, the architect behind the unbroken string of nineteen defeats, condescended to speak to reporters.  Isolated for years by the burden of his team’s relentless pursuit of perfection, he had finally lost his grip. 

Up to that point, he had managed to assemble a team uniquely gifted at losing, commanded by a hand-picked general manager whose talent for hiring dud coaches and quarterbacks left the pundits week after week with less to say.  Mouths open as the clock again ran out each Sunday, the writers must collectively have thought:  How many ways can you flog a dead Lion? 

It was hard not to feel sympathy for them.  After all, there are just so many synonyms for hopeless.  But now the journalists’ long night of the soul was over.  Against all he held to be good and true, Mr. Ford had reluctantly fired his GM, not just his general manager but his friend, the two of them, for so long, lonely at the top of the bottom. 

But at last Mr. Ford’s staunch spirit gave out—or, he sensed himself summoned by a higher calling.  That calling obliged him to sacrifice his personal quest for more defeats in favor of the greater good, namely the demands of the common man and their sports writer flunkies, all of them badgering the beleaguered team owner for a victory.    

So, the Lions won.  Too bad.  These days, Detroit is down on its luck, but in those heady weeks, months and years of recent history, at least we had something to call our own.  Even so, let the Golden Age of Failure shine in memory.  Requiescat in pace.

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1 Comment »

  1. Now that’s a post I can believe in as a fan of the 49ers from before their glory years, and beyond and beyond and beyond …

    Onward.

    Comment by janinsanfran — January 20, 2010 @ 9:58 am | Reply


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