There’s a strange little cultural difference between the UK and the States that I have noticed since relocating from the old country nearly four years ago. In the UK, pretty much everyone has their soccer team and there is no stigma attached. Here, it seems as if music fans, hipsters and nihilists take pride in distancing themselves from sport, often for fear of being labeled a “jock”. Obviously this doesn’t apply to everyone, but it’s still noticeable.
This seems particularly strange in a city which loves to wear it’s heart, and its name, on its chest. Detroiters, of which I count myself, don’t miss an opportunity to stick the name of the city on a shirt. So why not add the words “Lions”, “Tigers”, “Pistons”, “Red Wings”, “Ignition” or “Shock” after “Detroit”. Believe me, it takes more than pride in the local teams to turn somebody into a jock.
I have met local jocks. Let me tell you a story. I was sat in Buffalo Wild Wings in Ferndale about five years ago, watching the Lions before they were good. Two jocks were sat to my left, and they noticed my British accent when I ordered my loaded potato skins, or something equally loaded. The guys had two questions about the ancient culture. 1) Do they sell Orio cookies in England? 2) Do the women shave their pubes in England.
And that was it. They were done. These guys hadn’t ever visited England, and yet they felt that they knew enough with these questions vaguely answered. For the record, 1) Yes, in specialty stores, and 2) I know of no hard and fast rule, as I have never conducted a poll.
But I digress. Today is Sunday and last night the Tigers lost the first game of the Texas Rangers series on the road. Still, there’s plenty of time and I fancy the boys to come through. After all, we lost the first game against the glamor-pussy-boy Yankees too.
The Red Wings won the second game of the season and are 2-0. It’s a long season in hockey, but a good start is most welcome.
The Lions are the big surprise package, considering that only three years ago, we went 0-16. Coach Jim Schwartz is a miracle worker and, as we sit in anticipation of the Monday night Bears game with a 4-0 record, we can be more hopeful than worried. I think we’ll beat our neighbors, but either way, the Lions are a team we can all be proud of after years of heads-in-hands. The fact that wide receiver Calvin Johnson is nicknamed Megatron just makes him that much cooler too.
So let’s bury the pseudo-intellectual snobbery. Wear a Lions shirt in the Magic Stick. If it makes you feel better, pretend it’s ironic. If I see you, I’ll know the truth.