Gridiron Gone Mad: Lions Lose to Seahawks After Uncalled Illegal Use of Hands
ADAM MICHAEL LUEBKE
Out of the blue, my brother called to tell me the Lions were playing in Seattle. The gesture felt like more than coincidence. As the evening approached, I connected the computer to the big game. The kickoff unleashed the haphazard old rush of testosterone. I am a beaten Lions fan who hasn’t cared about sports or football since 1999.
The game last night was the second full NFL game I’d watched this season. The first was the Lions playing the Cowboys.
Years ago, as a child, I cheered for Detroit. I’m still not sure why.
Maybe I liked a perpetually losing team. It felt good not to win. With one billion people starving across the poorer regions of the world, there is just too much guilt, perhaps, to take pleasure in a winning team. Something careless about it. If I understood that as a child, I understand it with more clarity now. It’s best to always lose, considering the circumstances of this life.
As the game in Seattle progressed, the familiar excitement built up. I couldn’t help hoping the Lions would win. For the first half, they held on. I was surprised by how quickly my emotions flared. An obvious penalty for offensive pass interference should have been called, but wasn’t. I was incensed. The receiver held the face mask of the Lions’ defender, and the Seahawks were able to pull in a touchdown on that play.
Everything collapsed for Detroit after that. I was tempted to destroy my computer and throw the office chair out the window, but I resisted.
A similar thing happened to the Lions in Dallas. Where are the conspiracy theory websites on this subject? Is the League forming a narrative here? Keeping some teams woefully in the losing column, and boosting others to mid or high ranking outfits? If the referees were working to protect Seattle for the playoffs, then they did their jobs with excellence.
When the second half commenced, I fought against inner violent urges I didn’t know I had. I wanted to see collarbones crushed and legs broken. I longed for a crumpled SEA quarterback and a crippled halfback. At the very least the officials should have thrown a couple flags in favor of the Lions to make up for the endzone incident.
I sat still, hunched in front of the computer, half hoping the game would get ugly, and half-realizing how silly it was to be emotionally invested. With each nasty thought I chided myself until most of the game was a running commentary in my own mind about how loose I’d let my primal tendencies run wild.
Before the game was completed, I’d written letters to the referees. Stamped and ready to be sent to their personal home addresses. That should shock them for the rest of the post-season.
Usually people get emails these days, but how many get a fiery letter with Donald Trump letterhead? I found it at the thrift store. One hundred sheets of Trump Tower letterhead. “Use it wisely, boy,” the elderly man behind the checkout counter told me. “Don’t blow through it all right away, this is powerful material.” Sometimes you’ll find a real score at the thrift store.
If you want the home addresses of the referees for the Lions-Seahawks game, I can forward them to you. But first please verify you’ve sent $1000 to my PayPal account. I also accept BitCoin. In fact, I prefer it. You won’t easily find the addresses of NFL officials online. You have to know where to penetrate the Deep Web, and strike up a deal with the right people when they are in the right mood.
Either way, I’m done with football and I’m finished with sports for the year. I’ll consider keeping up the tradition and watching one game in 2018. After last night, I suffered from the same empty feeling I always had whenever I watched TV as a child. I should have read a book, I thought. I should have written a play. I should have called a friend.
One positive factor in sports is that various loose types of philosophies can be drawn out of it at convenient times. I called my friend on Skype, the exiled cultural philosopher Hubert Humdinger, to ask him what he thought of football in general, and if he’d seen the Lions game, or that obvious attempt by the officials to ignore the offensive pass interference.
He answered on the first beep. His face lit up on my computer’s screen. The time there, somewhere in Northern Europe, was very early.
I knew he hadn’t watched the game, but I asked anyway. “Did you see the Lions and Seahawks tonight?”
Humdinger’s forehead wrinkled right up into his bald scalp. He rubbed his fingers over his third eye for a few seconds. “I haven’t been to the zoo in decades,” he finally told me. “I don’t believe in holding animals hostage any more than most people believe in holding humans hostage.”
“No, the football game that was on tonight!” I said. “You know, it’s Wild Card week. The race to the playoffs. The winner takes all?”
Humdinger was shaking his head. He narrowed his eyes and I could almost feel the heat coming off his skin through the screen. “I don’t pay attention to sports!” he hollered. “I’m hoping if I ignore them long enough, they’ll go away so humanity can start paying attention to statistics that matter.”
“It was exciting to watch a football game again,” I admitted. “A little thrill here and there.”
“I don’t get jazzed up over sports,” Humdinger said. “It’s like suffering from continuous false starts in the race of life. A bunch of emotional tugging one way or another. False identification with a set of athletic youngsters who continuously cycle through the thin pages of sports history and into oblivion.”
The stubborn philosopher banged his fist on his computer desk. “I’m smart enough not to work up a load of jizz over something that matters less than a squashed bed bug under the janitor’s rug in Trump Tower.”
With that, my old friend signed off. All night I dreamed of the Seahawks getting smashed by Atlanta.
[header image of NFL official in Seahawks stadium courtesy of Michael Holley, Swtpc6800 — in public domain, from Wikimedia Commons; Detroit Lions draft town photo courtesy of swimfinfan — Wikimedia Commons]