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Hope in the Unseen

In beating the Washington Redskins on Sunday, the Detroit Lions broke a 19-game losing streak. One thing we're trying to figure out is, why have the Lions' most ardent fans remained, despite the team's abysmal performance over the last 21 months? In the Detroit Free Press, Mitch Albom explains the significance of yesterday's victory. Here's an excerpt:

And, suddenly, Ford Field was Lourdes. Wounds were washed clean. Souls were healed. Fans and players, some near tears, thanked each other for enduring. It was as if some mystical prison doors had been sprung, and everyone was getting to go home. At long last, after a game, Detroit players did something they'd forgotten about doing since Dec. 23, 2007.

They smiled.

And be sure to check out Pride of Detroit, a Lions fan blog managed by a University of Michigan student, Sean Yuille.

Anyway, here's my TIME story, one of first I've written on sports. It wouldn't have come together without help of TIME's sports authority, Sean Gregory.

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  • 1

    Why did Tampa Bay's fans remain when that club set the record for the longest NFL losing streak? Why did Cubs fans stick by for so long?

    It's fair weather fans who jump on and off the bandwagon, not true fans, True fans stay through thick and thin. True fans go for the game, not the party. True fans know losing is part of the game, too, and that's the challenge of sports.

  • 2

    1.1 Well said, anounceofaction!

    I might also add that sticking with a team through the "hard times" only adds to the bond that a fan feels...much like a city. And when said "hard times" have turned once again to the "glory days" or days of success it is that much more enjoyable and moving.

  • 3

    Wow, it took only a week for you to dip into the cliche bag and pull out the trusty (and rather condescending) sports-as-metaphor one.

    Hey, out-of-town reporters, here's a newsflash, to paraphrase Freud - sometimes a sports team is just a sports team, and sometimes a game is just that - a pleasant diversion enjoyed no differently than it would be anywhere else.

  • 4

    This is the biggest story in Washington today. The Redskins aren't that great a team, but the shame of losing to the Lions is a heavy burden.

    • 4.1

      but one that will be eased if the Lions do well this year - it's early in the season yet

      The Tigers went from last place last year to first in the division this year - that's the beauty of the possibilities in sports.

      Hey, Steven, do you know the City of Detroit's official motto??

      "Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus"

      ("We Hope For Better Things; It Shall Rise From the Ashes")

      It originated in reference to the fire in 1805 that wiped out all but one or two structures, but can apply to many scenarios.

    • 4.3

      I don't think the spirit has ever gone away.

      Btw you know our Spirit of Detroit (aka "Spirit") is dearly loved and dons sports jerseys, too, when the teams are in finals -

      He's had jerseys for the Pistons, the WNBA Shock, the Red Wings (note - two words), the Tigers, and even a special one when Detroit hosted the Super Bowl, but he has yet to acquire a Lions jersey.

  • 5

    Mr. Gray...kudos to Time and it's writers for noticing this city and trying to help. People say sports stars are paid too much, but if it weren't for them I think we'd go nuts. Thank God for the Red Wings, Tigers, Lions and or lose, they keep us going.
    PS: Hope your stay here is working out ok .......

  • 6

    [...] since we all love Detroit sports, I want all my fellow Detroit Lions football fans to check out detroit.blogs.time and tell me what you think about[...]

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