Today wasn’t just Sunday for Lions fans.
Today meant a little bit more. Today marked the first win Detroit had seen since December 23, 2007. Today got people thinking, “Hey, this whole ‘good feeling’ thing could work. I could do this more often.”
Today was so much more.
Today made a city enjoy Sunday for every bit of what it has to offer. At approximately 4:20 Eastern Time, the Detroit Lions reminded us why we do what we’ve done for so many years: wake up with a complete disregard for reality, and instead gravitate towards outlandish optimism. “This is our year.” “Today’s our day.” The list of cliché catchphrases was endless….until 2008. After sixteen Sundays of dropping our chins to our chest, tucking our tails between our legs, and burying hope for, well, hope, enough was enough. With an economy taking a toll on each metro-Detroit citizen, the Lions soon became less attractive than a month-old carton of milk.
But today? Today changed everything.
Even it if was for just three hours and twenty minutes. Even if it was against the Washington Redskins, who’s coach has all but been booed out of town. Even if the rest of the nation thinks today was just Sunday…Today wasn’t just Sunday.
Today was so much more.
I looked at the dozen or so Honolulu-blue and silver-clad fans around me at the sports bar as the game ended. We were all immersed with shock, jubilation, and awe. We ignored the hundred fans around us and jumped into the lyrics we all crave to hear on game day: “Forward down the field…” We sang. We cheered. And then we looked around at each other in disbelief mouthing, “Is this really happening?” Sure, it’s Week 3. Yeah, the Lions are still 1-2, sub-.500 and facing a stingy Bears defense next week. And times are absolutely still brutally tough for Detroiters.
But when I looked down at my phone after the resounding “Goooo Lions!” swiftly ended, I saw five missed calls and seven text messages to confirm, “Yes, this is really happening.” My fellow Detroiters at the sports bar welcomed the same connections with friends and family across the USA. The ensuing conversation with my father, who casually quipped, “14-2,” lit up a smile on my face. The note from my friend stated, “This must be what winning the Super Bowl feels like!” and made me throw emphatic high fives to anyone in sight. All of that euphoria cannot possibly be consumed by one word.
That’s why today isn’t just today.
Today made a city forget its economic troubles, even for just those three hours and twenty minutes. If you weren’t watching on TV, you got a call from a wound up relative to turn on Dan Miller’s radio call. Even Miller couldn’t resist getting excited. “Calvin is sick!” he shouted at one point.
Today was joining together for our pastime. For stories after the game about Lions victories of yesteryear. For discussions about Matthew Stafford someday (very soon, of course) leading these jumpstart Lions to the promised lands. It brought us together for what we do best: unite. Give Detroiters a cause and we’ll latch on to it with full support and care. We know winning isn’t everything. And today wasn’t about winning.
Today wasn’t just Sunday. Today was so much more.