Why I could NEVER root for the Detroit Lions « Ol' Bag of Donuts

Investigating the Packers/Lions

(Before we begin: I originally had the idea for this before the first Detroit game back in October. But I got sick and was unable to finish it in time.)

With this being the week of Green Bay’s Thanksgiving Day contest with the Detroit Lions, it seemed like a good time to address a certain subject – a question, if you will:

Why, exactly, am I not a Detroit Lions fan?

It’s a fair question. After all, I’m from Michigan. My favorite baseball team is the Detroit Tigers. Favorite hockey team? You guessed it: The Detroit Red Wings. Stuff like this always leads people to call me a bandwagon Packers fan. You need to root for the team from your home state, they say. You don’t live in Wisconsin, they say The only reason I picked the Pack was because they did well while I was growing up and the Lions, well, didn’t, they say.

(This stuff makes me so angry, you can’t believe. On my birthday, here at a bar in Minneapolis, I was accused by two moron Vikings fans – wait, aren’t they ALL morons? – of being a bandwagoner once they saw my Packers hat after hearing the bartender note that my I.D. says Michigan on it. As I got my beer, they claimed they were just joking and told me to have a good night. I said nothing and walked away. Hey, better than smashing the bottle against one of their heads, right?)

ANYways, the main reason I love the Packers and not the Lions, as I’ve mentioned before, stems from the fact that while my father was growing up in the Upper Peninsula, Packers games were the ones broadcast, first on the radio and then on television. He then passed that love down to my brother Bill and I.

There are other reasons, of course, the biggest being I simply can’t stand most people from Lower Michigan.

See, I’m from the U.P. We’re sort of a forgotten area of the country (and we’re also fully aware that we’re slightly bat country-ish). I remember having a class in college where the professor ran a map of the United States on the digital projector. “Wait, where’s the U.P.?” I thought. We were included as part of Canada. Sort of funny, sort of not.

Most people from Lower Michigan follow suit in how they act towards us. They disrespect us. They think they’re so much smarter and more cultured than us. Yeah, because crappy mustaches, Camaros and Kid Rock all scream intelligence. When my alma matter, Marquette Senior High School (Redmen football sucks!), traveled below the bridge to play for the Class A state hockey championship a few years back, they had to deal with obnoxious parents who said they were lucky to be there. From what I was told, it sounded like those downstate parents were shocked we even had the means of transportation – other than sled dogs, of course. The Redmen won the state title that night. Up yours.

Then, these L.P. folk head up our way during the summer (for the camping) and winter (for the snowmobiling and skiing) months. They pretend to like us, even though they (and we) know they’re just using us. They think we’re just sitting there, watching them going over the bridge and saying, “Aww shucks. I sure am sad to see them so. I sure do like them downstate folk.” Surely, in this scenario, we then all bust out our banjos and talk about how hot our sisters are.

Not only that, but the city of Detroit itself? What a dump…unless you actually enjoy being in constant fear of something awful happening and/or enjoy looking at rotting buildings. If you do, you’ll love “The D”!

The funniest thing about ALL this is that whenever I mention these things to people back home – people who either are from or spent a large amount of time in lower Michigan – they always want to battle me. “If you love it so damn much, why are you here?” They don’t have much to say after that.

Now, the fine folks of Wisconsin? They’ve always been great to us Yoopers. We share a border with them – which is more meaningful than a bridge, last time I checked – and a kinship. We don’t like Camaros. We love Miller Lite. We’re not pretentious. We understand that basketball, for the most part, sucks. Truth be told, if I could legally get away with calling myself a resident of Wisconsin, I probably would.

You know what? Yeah – yeah I would.

So, there you go. I hope this helped paint a better picture of just why I could NEVER be a Detroit Lions fan. In fact, I can’t think of a punishment more gruesome.

Well, maybe being forced to read a Mitch Albom book while listening to Motown records. Oh, the horror.

-Chris Lempesis

2 comments to Why I could NEVER root for the Detroit Lions

  • Even if he might not admit it, Chris is also a closet Brewers fan. He loves him some Prince Fielder and jumped on the Sabathia-led train in the glorious summer of 2008(seems so long ago *tears*) after he Tigers fell out of contention. He also partook in his first-ever outdoor baseball game this summer. Where? You guessed it, Miller Park! So, this is more of a justification of recognizing Mr. Lempesis as an honorary Wisconsinsite.

  • I was born in Milwaukee but was transported to Illinois at an early age. Due to employment, I moved to Phoenix 38 yrs. ago, and I do love it here. But my heart and most relatives still live in Wisconsin. I consider myself a fan of most Wisconsin teams (sorry, baseball died for me when the Braves moved.). The Packers became my team at age 11 and for the next 64 yrs. I have followed them as closely as the media would allow. I’m sure that all Packer fans embrace you as one of them. (Frankly, You have my admiration for withstanding the weather up there.) Keep warm and NEVER leave the Packer family.

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