Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Life Lessons from the Lions

[Removes bag from head.] Hi, everyone. My name is Diane, and I'm a Detroit Lions fan. I can't help it; it's how I was raised. It's pretty miserable, being a Lions fan. During my lifetime (42 seasons), the Lions have won exactly one playoff game. (At least it was against the Cowboys.) They've only had 12 winning seasons, and four of those were before I was in kindergarten and knew what football was. Since 2001, the Puddytats have a scintillating record of 31-81, which I believe is the worst in the NFL. Bad coaching, bad draft picks, bad management, bad play—I've seen it all. Even the franchise can't ignore how bad they've been; their current marketing slogan for the season is "Claim a piece of the future" (... because we don't want you to think about the past).

So yes, the Lions suck. And yet, each fall Sunday I turn on the TV to watch. I pay attention to the draft, I read free agent reports in the paper, I believe the players when they say this year will be different. I love football, so why not switch my allegiance to a team with some chance of making the playoffs? Part of it is probably due to stubbornness. But part of it is also due to being a hopeless optimist. Each September, I really do believe that maybe they finally have the right coach/quarterback/defense to finally become a winning team. I often have to give up my delusions by October, but every season I hold out hope for something different.

This stubborn optimism is proving very useful as I seek publication for my creative writing. Here's the latest piece of bad news: a rejection of a picture book manuscript I've been working on for the last five or six years. This isn't what they call a "champagne rejection"—the kind where they turn you down, but praise your writing and invite you to try something different—but it's slightly better than a form letter. The editor made an effort to personalize the rejection, remembering the conference we both attended, and she didn't say the manuscript was unsuitable because it stunk.

So, I'm out of the playoffs for this season. Time to find another editor/publisher, take the field, and see how they like it. I'm a hopeless optimist. I'm a Lions fan, and I'm too stubborn to give up.

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