Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Urge To Ignore Rising

Today in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a three-man panel said the lockout can stay until a full appeal is heard on whether it's legal, which means that we are very likely to see nothing new on this until June 3. As an Eagles fan, this means three more weeks of not trading Kevin Kolb, not getting Nmandi Asomugha signed to fix the raging cornerback problem opposite Asante Samuel, another three weeks where they can't bring in a linebacker and get the young defense trained up, another three weeks where we can't think about Juan Castillo's effort to transition to defensive coordinator, another three weeks where the guys they drafted more or less fade into the offseason ether, especially since we have no idea how many of these guys are expected to start, and who are expected to learn from older guys.

There's also this. I try to go to a road game every year, because it's something the Shooter Mom and I both really enjoy. My mom has been an Eagles fan for a period of time that I'm not allowed to discuss out loud, but suffice it to say that she remembers when this laundry won its last game of the year, and the year involved the playoffs. This year, we were thinking about the option of going to opening day in St. Louis, taking a plane ride to see friends in San Francisco, or maybe an October ride to Buffalo. A December weekend in Miami also sounds worthwhile...

But, well, the league basically does not exist right now.

And it hasn't existed for months now -- this is officially the longest work stoppage in NFL history -- and some growing, and not so very insignificant part of me, wants to tell these people to go screw themselves for good. Disband the fantasy league, go back to a world where I've got my weekends free for better parenting and an improved relationship with my wife, never spend another minute of any day or evening with Chris Berman, Phil Simms, Jon Gruden, Joe Buck, Tony Siragusa and so very many more people who no decent human being should ever want to subject him or herself to.

Have I gotten there yet? No, of course not, probably never will, since the sides will still most likely settle this thing in a month and everyone will forget this happened.

But every day it continues? It gets a little easier to imagine not watching it.

In the mid-90s, the Phillies stopped trying to win games. After the blue snow year of 1993, they more or less let the team go to seed, stopped spending money to compete with the Braves, let Curt Schilling and Scott Rolen walk for what seemed to be marginal returns, and basically said they weren't going to try again until they got a new stadium. The Lords of Baseball allowed a three-party dance of death to occur between small and large market teams and the players, and when the smoke cleared, a World Series had been lost, Montreal had been permanently destroyed as a tangible market for baseball despite having MLB's best farm system, and I stopped watching baseball.

For something like five years. The first sport I ever watched, a twenty-year habit of games biked to and stadiums across the country visited, fantasy leagues won before the Internet existed, jerseys purchased, road trips taken, trips to Cooperstown... all gone. All done. Such was my measure of ire for the way the game had treated the paying public, such was my ire for my laundry for no longer trying to win games.

Well, the Eagles haven't stopped trying to win games, though smarter men then me really disliked their draft, and if they don't sign a corner, I'm going to start wondering hard that they are actually trying. And if the game goes away -- the game that's got to be, by any reasonable measure, unspeakably profitable...

I've given up harder things in my life. And so could you.

And if this was actually a credible threat, shared among a reasonably large portion of the populace?

We wouldn't be in this situation, would we?

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