Kukla's Korner

Abel to Yzerman

For Lions Fans: An Intervention

Name me one franchise.  Just one.  In any league, anywhere.  Find it and I don’t care where you look or what you reference.  Look as hard as you want for as long as you want.

There is not one team, not a single one, as pathetic as the Detroit Lions.  I have great sympathy for the die hards, and there are thousands.  They’re crushed today, not so much because they expected the Lions to succeed, but because they’re disgusted with themselves for allowing optimism in their lives, as if Matt Millen or the Fords had left Detroit.

To the ardent Lions fan, the downtrodden, the sickened, the addicted…I say this:  welcome.  It’s ok.  Climb aboard.  Cleanse yourselves in the success of the Wings.  You’ve been a casual fan for a lifetime, choosing to invest your hope in a franchise that is the most obscene disaster in the history of professional sports or, even, business in general. 

We have room for you.  You are our neighbors, our relatives, our classmates and co-workers.  We’re past the point of chuckling at your misplaced loyalty.  It used to be funny. Now it’s serious.  It’s intervention time.  We’re literally frightened for you and we have a solution.  We offer you a ten-month rehabilitation program and it begins 9 October.

Oh, some of us are casual users.  We’ll watch the Lions at parties, but if we had to stop we could.  Pretty easily.  We’ve never actually, you know, bought a ticket.  If you invited us to join you in the past, we may have.  But we always kept something in the front of our minds:  the Lions are a dangerous, dangerous addiction.  So we’ve kept them at arm’s length.

Today, I say this:  put them down.  Once and for all, listen to your friends and family who have tearfully pleaded with you for years.  Your addiction has affected everything.  Relationships.  Employment.  Your own mental health.  You’re gaunt and emotionally wrecked.  Aimless and wallowing at rock bottom.  Mark the date.  September 8th, 2008.  It’s going to be hard.  There is no doubt about that.  But we’re here to help you.

We offer you this:  The Detroit Red Wings.

Matt Millen has destroyed you.  He has ruined everything you used to love and he has abused you.  In his place I offer you Ken Holland.  Where Millen tormented your sleep, Holland will soothe you.  Where Millen’s ineptitude has left you shakey and pale, Ken Holland’s consistent, reliable genius will swell your chest and clear your head.

The Ford family laughs at you.  They talk about you at dinner and over gin and tonics.  They have no sympathy for you, only scorn.  It disgusts them that you are so weak as to allow yourselves to continue to buy their product.  They keep pushing it to you because you allow yourselves to need it. They don’t care about the effect it’s had on your life and on society, only that you keep buying it.  The Ilitch’s have been watching.  They’re saddened by your plight and offer you a hand of community.  They want to help, but you must help yourselves.  You must want to stop.  For yourselves. 

The ghost of Sanders still haunts you.  Brilliant, but so troubled.  It hurts to remember him because of how he left and the immense talent gone to waste. Wasted by a horrific franchise that never allowed him to really succeed.  We would never ask you to forget him, but we simply direct your attention to Steve Yzerman.  Just momentarily.  Consider where you’d be today if you’d only chosen 19 instead of 20 all those years ago. 

Calvin Johnson.  Roy Williams.  Mike Williams.  Charles Rogers.  Immense talent.  Fifty percent wasted.  The other half quickly on the road to ruin.  Pavel Datsyuk. Henrik Zetterberg. Niklas Kronwall.  Valteri Filppula.  Champions all.  Homegrown and pure.  Talent realized.  Across the board. 

Don’t blame only yourselves.  If this is going to work, you have to be honest.  Over the next several weeks you’re going to have to ask yourselves why you allowed this to happen.  It won’t be easy.  You’re going to learn things about yourselves that will trouble you.  You’re going to have to admit that the people you trusted pushed you to where you are today. 

The fathers you love, the uncles you idolize, the friends who enabled you.  They are as much to blame as you are.  They are the ones who allowed you to believe that one Monday night game against Chicago was enough reason to believe Eric Hipple was a star.  Hipple was the first.  He led to Kramer and Long and Ware.  By the time you got to Mitchell, you were done.  It’s been disastrously downhill since then.

We’ve been watching.  For almost two decades we’ve stood back and witnessed your decay.  Today it stops.  We’re stepping in.  It’s an intervention because you can’t be trusted to help yourselves.  We’ve purchased your tickets.  Pack a bag, a small one.  This is Homer.  He’s going to put you on the plane and he’s going to stay with you until you reach your destination.  Don’t try to understand him.  None of us can either.

Soon you’ll arrive at a wooded camp outside Traverse City.  Uncle Mike will be there.  He has no last name and he speaks in broken, strange english. Don’t be frightened.  Let him guide you.  Place your trust in him and let the healing begin. 

It’s not too late.  Happiness awaits you.  Normalcy.  Success.  We’d like to think you’d make this choice on your own, but you’re too far gone.  Rock bottom is here.  It’s intervention time and the cure is clad in Red and White.

I’m not going to lie to you.  The next several months will be hard.  There will be pain and there’s lots to learn.  Many of us have been there and we’re here to help you.

Next June?  If you can think that far ahead I have a guarantee for you.  You’ll thank us.

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About Abel to Yzerman

Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com

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