He ran. He ran fast. He ran powerfully. He ran with grace. He ran like he knew he wouldn’t be around long.
Billy Sims lightning in a bottle. The first round pick of the Detroit Lions won the 1980 rookie of the year. He ran the power sweep better than anyone I have ever seen.
He was a showman. The high stepping, airplane (arms exteneded out to his sides) side shuffling touchdown celebrations electrified Lions fans.
sadly, he would play roughly four and a half years. A horrific knee injury in Minnesota would see the Lions legend into retirement three screws holding his knee together was the deal breaker.
Yet, it was almost tragically indicative of the way he played. Throwing his body over piles of defenders. Lowering his head and shoulders to take on would be tacklers. Not to mention the famous “karate kick” against the then Houston Oilers.
He came. He left an impression still felt in Detroit.
It’s easy to root and watch when your favorite sports team is playing well and winning. But what happens when the window closes and a much needed rebuild is the next step? How do you continue to watch?
For me I do a few things:
Take stock of minor leagues provided it’s MLB or NHL. Otherwise to to get to know draft wannabes.
. Look at trade assets. Who has high trade value and can be moved for draft picks and or prospects.
. How long will the rebuild take.
That is where both the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings are. For the Red Wings it’s going to be every bit of 5-7 years. Stuck with an aging roster chalked full of bad contracts and a gm who has lost his luster in his field.
For the Tigers they have good young arms in the lower minors. They still have work to do to get the farm systems up. But, given last seasons trades of players like Justin Verlander, Alex Avila, Justin Wilson, and Ian Kinsler they began overhauling the system and have breathed new life in mean time. They dumped a bunch of salaries and coupled with the fact there is no salery cap in MLB 3-5 years seems like a good estimate for the Tigers to return to solid play.
My personal enjoyment comes from the game itself. Winning to me has never been something I wished for. Detroit sports will make you level headed and even give you a thrill from time to time.
It’s a phrase we’ve all heard or perhaps uttered at some point.
For Ken Holland and the Detroit Red Wings it’s time to move on.
For all the present ridiculing he’s taking now people forget Holland was a top NHL gm not too long ago. But, a flawed roster and a bad contract ladened team has tarnished the memory of a once dynamic gm.
He put teams on the ice. Good teams. Great teams. Stanley Cup championship teams.
Then came the salary cap followed by the downfall. For years Holland could go get whoever was need to help the Wings stay at an elite level as owner Mike Illitch encouraged.
But, then the cap came and the fall that was sure to follow through years of bad contracts which have put the team in a tight spot and a sort of cap purgatory.
It’s easy to come down on a guy when the inevitable happens.
I for one am happy. Mr. Holland did a good job. In time angry fans of today will give way to happy gratefulness of a 25 year playoff streak that will be hard to come by again. For all his great achievements it’s simply time for Ken Holland and new Red Wings ownership to part ways.
He is hated in the present. But a big part of Red Wing history.
Those of us who have been to a sporting event are treated well. From the ticket office worker to ticket scanners, ushers, vendors.
The event it’s self at least from me is great wether my team wins or loses.
Sadly often times we leave out one of the first person we come in contact with on our way into the event.
Parking attendants often overlooked and under appreciated. Too me it’s the first person I see that is representing both the lot they work and the team.
The lot attendants at Nationwide arena for Columbus Blue Jackets games are great. Dressed wether appropriate in a Blue Jackets polo or winter jacket in black slacks very professional looking sets the tone.
At a Red Wings game with My daughter at brand new Little Caesar’s arena something happened I’ve thought about a lot since.
Our lot attendant wore and old Marine jacket. It looked weathered ripped and as though it had seen battle time. His dentures either did not fit appropriately or he didn’t have the right adhesive to help them stay in place. I know because we talked to him for twenty or so minutes. My heart both hurt and was angry.
Billion dollar companies which is what sports teams are should take care of the people who are parking paying customers. They should give the uniforms tow wear and improve self confidence.
After all great men and woman or anyone should look like the pot holed worn out pavement cars are sitting on. But be the reason you park where you do.
Embed from Getty Images Some people enjoy sports for many different reasons. The team, the tailgating, food, and just people watching gives us a reason to get out. All sports fans have stories attached to why the like and follow.
Me? that’s a rather simple one. I was born in Columbus Ohio but rasied in East Grand Rapids Michigan. I was raised on THE GAME (Ohio State vs Michigan) at least in college football. But in all honestly that was what ever. In 1979 I stumbled on Detroit Tigers baseball probably because I was grounded and had to stay at home. I found that more entertaining than football. Also that year I found Detroit Lions football. But they have a hard to get into history and have been downright unwatchable at time. Detroit Pistons? Yup watched them too.
However, it wasn’t until the 1980 Winter Olympics I found the sports that would raise my sports watching level. Hockey. Detroit Red Wings hockey in the late 70’s early 80’s we very hard to watch. The “Dead Things” or “Dead Wings” as they were known then caught my attention like no other team or sport. It sucked me in. Completely!
To me Hockey is the greatest symphony of noises sports has to offer. Whether the knock of the puck hitting the boards. Or sticks meeting together at faceoff. Not to mention the thud of the puck finding it way onto a streaking stick. Or the hiss of skates rushing on the ice to the swish of a sudden stop accompanied flailing ice to the ping of the puck hitting the crossbar. The hair on the back of my neck is standing up as I type this. Watching the Wings go from horrid to Stanley Cup champions was time staking yet worth the wait.
For all sports. For better or worse, good times, bad times. I have seen them all. It’s the city I love and God willing the city I and my family will return.