As I imagine is the case with most sports fans, my dad had a lot to do with getting me started. I have always regarded him as more of a Detroit Tigers fan than anything else – I can recall him speaking of Ernie Harwell in a way I wouldn’t come to understand for many years – but it was a Detroit Lions game he took me to that I consider as the impetus for my love of sports.
It was Monday, December 10, 1990 and the Lions hosted the Los Angeles Raiders on Monday Night Football. We had great seats in the lower level in the area of the 50-yard line, not that it would have mattered much to first-grader. I remember being amused by grown men using the blue and white pompoms as hair extensions as they stuck the handle up the back of their hats. I remember being confused when I heard my first boos. I remember Barry Sanders and Bo Jackson running wild. I remember wondering why an actual gun was used to signal the end of the quarter (wouldn’t it puncture a hole in the Silverdome roof?). My dad explained it all.
It didn’t end when we left after a wild but disappointing 38-31 defeat at the hands of the Raiders. I remember diving into league standings and I’m sure I asked about each team, wondering which teams were good. The growing obsession manifested itself creatively as I started learning team logos by hand drawing helmets. Now, I have the opportunity to blog about the Lions – my adult version of drawing football helmets. Dad, this is all your fault, and I love you for it.
Happy Father’s Day!