THROUGH THICK AND THIN, YOU’RE STILL A LIONS FAN

“So, Mitch,” I am asked as the NFL season is about to begin. “How do you know you’re a Lions fan?”

That’s easy.

You know you’re a Lions fan if you expect 5-11, but still kid yourself about 11-5.

You know you’re a Lions fan if you believe Joey Harrington is “The One” — but you once said that about Andre Ware.

You know you’re a Lions fan if you hate Barry Sanders for quitting the team, but deep down, you don’t really blame him.

You know you’re a Lions fan if you believe that this year, finally, the secondary will stop somebody, even though it couldn’t do it last year or the year before that or the year before that or the year before that–

You know you’re a Lions fan if you think Luther Elliss is still on the team.

You know you’re a Lions fan if you think Luther Elliss is not on the team.

You know you’re a Lions fan if you wonder why Luther Elliss was ever on the team.

You know you’re a Lions fan if it’s normal that the kicker is the best guy on the roster.

You know you’re a Lions fan if you look at the schedule, see Green Bay scheduled twice, and say, “We win one, they win one.”

You know you’re a Lions fan if you still can’t figure why Marty won the toss but didn’t take the ball.

You know you’re a Lions fans if you never expect the opposing quarterback to be sacked, and if he is, you stop at church on the way home.

You know you’re a Lions fan if, deep down, you feel Charlie Sanders is still the best tight end on the team.

The ABC’s of losing

You know you’re a Lions fan if September makes you excited and October makes you depressed.

You know you’re a Lions fan if you think Steve Mariucci is a great coach, but you wonder why he came here.

You know you’re a Lions fan if you no longer ask why the “roar” they play over the loudspeakers at Ford Field sounds more like a toilet being flushed.

You know you’re a Lions fan if you miss Herman Moore.

You know you’re a Lions fan if, after they lose their first nine games, you still think a .500 season is possible.

You know you’re a Lions fan if you still can’t understand how Wayne Fontes’ brother pronounced his name “Fontez.”

You know you’re a Lions fan if you’ve never been to Hawaii, but you know Honolulu Blue.

You know you’re a Lions fan if you realize Monte Clark isn’t the Scottish golfer and Rick Forzano isn’t one of the Sopranos.

You know you’re a Lions fan if you hate that ABC never puts your team on “Monday Night Football,” but deep down, you don’t blame the network.

You know you’re a Lions fan if “the glory days” means Erik Kramer at quarterback.

You know you’re a Lions fan if you no longer ask why a giant, inflatable lion floats around the stadium.

You know you’re a Lions fan if you generally see the same number of touchdowns as fights in the stands.

A matter of inches

You know you’re a Lions fan if two victories constitute “a roll.”

You know you’re a Lions fan if, when the Lions have third-and-six, you’re sure they won’t convert, but when the other team has third-and-14, you’re sure it will.

You know you’re a Lions fan if, when you hear that song “Another One Bites the Dust,” you feel a bit sheepish.

You know you’re a Lions fan if, despite just 10 victories in three years, you’re still grateful for Matt Millen, because at least you had heard of him.

You know you’re a Lions fan if you throw up on draft day.

You know you’re a Lions fan if you still believe that everything would have been different if Eddie Murray hit that field goal against San Francisco.

You know you’re a Lions fans if you think “the road” is some place the team must go in between victories.

You know you’re a Lions fans if you’re still waiting for Aaron Gibson to reach his potential.

You know you’re a Lions fan if you’re still waiting for Brett Favre to retire.

You know you’re a Lions fan if every year, you hope they draft a quarterback.

You know you’re a Lions fan if you can hum that song they play after a touchdown, even if you have no idea what that guy is singing.

You know you’re a Lions fan if you look at the schedule, see the Thanksgiving Day game, and say, “At least we’ll win that one.”

You know you’re a Lions fan if, even after all that, even after everything you’ve been through, you will be there Sunday at 1 p.m., in front of your TV set, believing that this season, this season, things will finally be different.

Unless they aren’t.

Contact MITCH ALBOM at 313-223-4581 or albom@freepress.com”

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