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"Hey Dad, How Many Games Will The Lions Win This Year?"

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 28:  Fans hold a sign during a game between the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions on December 28, 2008 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Lions 31-21. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Phil HopersbergerCorrespondent IMay 20, 2009


What a funny word. Sounds a lot like another word, but I can't think of it right now.

What does it really mean anyway?

Maybe...the youthful heartbeat for future hopes, dreams, and endless possibilities?

I think of Christmas when I hear that word. The sound of pajamas with footies flopping down the stairs at dawn.

Or the anticipated birthday face from the perfect gift that your kid hinted we could never afford.

I associate it with good things...usually.

When my teenage son asked for my opinion on our team the other day, I back-peddled with obfuscation abounding in each wiggle.

I immediately thought of The Princess Bride movie and Inigo Montoya's famous line.

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."


Expectations and the Detroit Lions conjures up some pretty ugly stuff for me these days. None of it is pleasant. Last year's 0-16 debacle still resonates deep in my soul.

"Well, a lot depends on who they get for help on the lines," I said, deflecting his first volley quite nicely, thank you very much. "They still need help there to buy time for some sort of passing threat to Calvin going deep. And Stafford is a big question too."

He nodded politely, acknowledging my wealth of "perceived" knowledge as the primary carrier of the Feline Flu in the family.

"But the coaching staff is the big equalizer," I continued. "They're sharp, but how do you explain the draft? They passed on Oher, Jerry, Laurinaitis, Robinson."

"So, you think they'll get to .500?," he asked, trying to pin me down on a prediction. I took his thrust and parried it gracefully.

"Hard to say. They were so close to winning so many tight games last year. They only really got blown out twice, you know?"

He pondered my wicked volley, but chose not to bite.

"What do you think?" I asked.

"They sucked."

Taught him well I thought. Nary a minced word in that sentence. Kid knows his football.

"So four wins?", I said, setting the snare nonchalantly.

"I dunno. You said before that they could make the playoffs after they got Foote and Peterson."

Doh! Didn't see that coming.

"Well, I said they might, but they'd really have to address...."

"So how many wins this year?"

Persistent little bugger.

"Their schedule is pretty tough. Maybe only two. Maybe four. Five may...."

"So you don't really know, do you?"

Ow! I'd been exposed. Painted into the Honolulu Blue corner with my own brush. Time to come clean and admit the awful truth.

"I don't think anyone really knows for sure. They sucked, sure, but they've changed up a lot of stuff in the offseason. They could win nine or be picking any lineman they want in 2010. I don't think anyone really knows what they're gonna' do. Not even...."

"Not even you?"

"Not even me."

I could see the gears turning. I'd been toppled and we both knew the game was up. I was mortal. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

I really did not know.

And then he squeezed off one last round.

"You should run an IHOP with that waffle, you know? I'm putting you down for...five wins. How's that?"

That's my boy. Nut doesn't fall far from the tree, eh? Out on the limb, buck naked.

I expect big things from him someday, but not for the Lions this year.

Put me down for five wins then. Heck, nobody really knows and they're lying if they think they do.

No one knows what expectations....

Hey, I got it! I remember now.





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