NFL, Anime, And Loving Mediocrity Nehszriah

NFL Football, Anime, And Loving Mediocrity

Author’s Note: I like sports. This deals with sports. You have been warned. I don’t need any “i liek it but i dont get it” comments, please. Thanks.


Just recently I sat down and watched on television some of the first round draft for the NFL (National Football League) and began thinking to myself. Being that a paper bag is one of my best friends during football season, I was watching and waiting carefully with one of my brothers as the clock ticked down for my “hometown” Detroit Lions to make their pick. After trading down two spots and frustrating my brother and me to no end, a player had been chosen. Neither my brother nor I had heard or read about the selection that was supposedly expertly made. The six or so broadcasters on television were just as stunned. A commercial quickly cut across the screen in order for the broadcasters to have an excuse for not talking much about the Lions’ pick and swiftly move on towards guessing the next draftee. My brother and I waited around for any logical explanation as to why Marinelli and Company chose a man who flourished as a left tackle as a right tackle prospect, but we then simply shrugged it off and figured it was going to be another long season with our best friends. Mediocrity had struck once again in the most popular sport in the nation.

As I watched the ticker scroll names of previously-chosen athletes at the bottom of the screen, I began to think. Since I was small, I was a devoted fan of Detroit sports in general. I was only in second grade when the Red Wings became ice hockey champions and even the last World Series the Tigers snagged is still in the memory of most people in the area (despite the declining track record that peaked earlier this decade). It has always been the Lions, Detroit’s answer to American rules football, that makes the difference. Enjoying ice hockey and baseball was easy; football, not so much. Similar to how I like to civilly heckle Kansas City baseball fans on occasion, the Detroit Lions happen to be the butt of many a joke in professional football. It’s all lovingly, of course, since someone needs to be stepped on by the big-names after all.

No matter how much the other teams subconsciously appreciate the Lions, it fails to change the fact many fans at home games come to Ford Field with a mission to see the other team. It is surprising that we in Metropolitan Detroit know what the Super Bowl is, considering the Lions have yet to even participate in one. It is rumored that our draftees cry when they are selected, because they know they will be injured and in a slump until they are traded out... which no one wants to trade with Detroit anyways. All this ends up equating to the fact that we... well... are almost better off using the local high school football teams instead of the actual Lions athletes.

The funny thing is though, fans still exist for the Detroit Lions. Forty-two years without even a whiff of a title and we still show support for the guys. Too many years of bad football have passed without enough years of the good throughout for there to logically be any of us left. Games are completely one-sided for the most part; the Lions cannot even make a show out of losing. Somehow there are still Lions fans wandering around Metropolitan Detroit, sporting jerseys, t-shirts, hats and other regalia for more reasons than just being clean. People still get together to watch the games and speculate the probability of just breaking even in the statistics. We argue over what is wrong in the Lions hierarchy, plays and athletics. More than one high school football player has had a nightmare or two about being drafted to the Lions, yet the next day will attend a gathering at a friend’s house in order to gorge on snack foods and yell at the Lions via the television set. For some of us, the love is ingrained within our being, defying anything the statistics can throw at us. Our dedication oftentimes can be far from casual, showing that we are ultimately a force to be reckoned with.

We are strange for still being attached. We are idiots because we still defend our team, or admit our obvious faults. We have no idea what good football is like.

We Detroit Lions fans are like Western anime otaku.

You probably think I am a little loony now, but listen: compared to traditional novel formatting, manga as a whole is definitely small fry no matter how much it has exploded. Naruto and Fruits Basket cannot make up for the lack of sales attached to other series. Our elders and peers see us as mind-boggling, hopeless wretches, watching cartoons that they see as being geared towards children only. We aren’t fashionable wearing our anime/manga-related apparel, but we still sport it for reasons more than that it was clean at the moment. We get together and have fun while watching our DVDs while gorging on snack foods and screaming at the characters on the television set. We have also ingrained our love for Japanese animated entertainment, just as Lions fans have for their football.

As the NFL draft continued and the next few picks were made, I smiled. I knew at that point that my easily-made connection to anime and manga had already been programmed into me; I knew I would root for what I was loyal to. In the Western market, foreign-language entertainment in general is by far second best to such quality programming as “Dancing with the Stars” and “American Idol”, where Americans lose their worries and burdens for an hour at a time. I admit I read manga during American Idol, being as the program is something that does not interest me in the slightest. I feel more loyalty towards the cartoon/comic book subculture than to the many reality shows and repetitive crime dramas and comedies filmed with live actors. Some cannot comprehend my near-severe attachment to animated tales, exactly how no one can really tell why I have an attachment to the Detroit Lions. It’s not just about Hollywood and the Patriots. Sometimes it can be about Tokyo and the Lions too.

We attach, defend, admit faults and have no idea as to what good entertainment is like. Sounds awfully familiar, right?

I went back to the kitchen to wash the dishes; I knew that despite the Lions’ record this season, we would have definitely won.

Date Published
05/06/08 (Originally Created: 05/05/08)
Journal of A Female Fanboy
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