Jamal delivers his best blog yet on a man who reflects his state!
There are and will always be sports teams that are a perfect fit to their city or environment. The run-and-gun Showtime Lakers of the 80â€™s were perfect for fast-paced Hollywood and L.A. The â€™86 Bears had the greatest defense in NFL history and were just as hard working as the city of Chicago. This list goes on and on. But this past weekend I saw something with my own eyes in my city that I will be able to tell my children about.
Itâ€™s no secret that Detroit is about as blue-collar a town as you can get. As my mom has always said â€œitâ€™s a working mans townâ€. If youâ€™re looking for great clubs and hot night spots and the fast life, look toward the suburbs or elsewhere because people in the D come to work. That attitude has been adopted by the Detroit sports teams now: The Pistons are a gritty, hard working bunch of guys who play hard every night (at least they USED to be). The Tigers fight more and more everyday to earn the respect and admiration of those who forgot them while they lost 119 games in a season. The Red Wings had one of the hardest working players Iâ€™ve ever seen in any sport, â€œThe Captainâ€, Steve Yzerman, who played literally on one knee for the last 2 years of his career while trying to lead his team. Thatâ€™s how we do it. We donâ€™t call in sick, we donâ€™t make excuses, we just go to workâ€¦.But then there are the Lions.
My whole life the Lions have been losers, wasting good talent like Herman Moore, Chris Spielman, and of course, Barry Sanders. But what I noticed most about the Lions was that no matter how bad they were it was always, and I mean ALWAYS, the quarterbacks fault. Charlie Batch, Stoney Case, Gus Freotte, Ty Detmer, Joey Harrington, Mike McMahon, and everybodyâ€™s favorite whipping boy: Scott Mitchell. I mean Mitchell has thrown for more yards and TDâ€™s in 1 season than any other Lion in history! But it didnâ€™t matter; the Lions back up QB always seemed to be the most popular guy in townâ€¦.until he got in the game. Sports is a â€œwhat have you done for me latelyâ€ type thing, and quite frankly, the Lions were nothing to be proud of. But this past Sunday I saw something happen that Iâ€™d never seen before. I saw a Lions QB who threw 22 interceptions last year go down hard. And the crowd was stunned. Like a perennial Pro Bowler had just gone down. I thought to myself â€œwell this season was fun while it lasted; the fans are going to love this JT Oâ€™Harrington guyâ€. But I was dead wrong. They wanted Kitna back. He was the leader of this team. He was the guy who played through pain last year and came to work like we like our players to do, taking every single snap. He was the one.
When Kitna trotted back onto Ford Field that Sunday evening it was the loudest that stadium has ever been. It was a moment I had never experienced: Lions fans EMBRACING the hard working QB. I saw a man sacrifice his body and mind for his team and I loved every minute of it. To see how much Jon Kitna wanted to win was awe inspiring to say the least. All stats aside, his decision making aside, you cannot question that manâ€™s will to win for his team and his town.
Iâ€™ve been working for Hondo for 5 months. And in that span Iâ€™ve been all over Michigan, in places I didnâ€™t even know existed until I got there. And I found out one thing: As much as I take pride in my hard working city, my city isnâ€™t the only hard working one in this great state. Iâ€™ve been on dairy farms, and football fields. Fire houses and baseball diamonds. And everybody has the same mentality: Work hard, earn your keep, and take care of business. And Jon Kitna made me damn proud on Sunday by doing just that.