Detroit Lions: A Culture Of Excuses

C DeGetmonCorrespondent ISeptember 23, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 13:  Head coach Jim Schwartz of the Detroit Lions argues a call with the referees during the game against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on September 13, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints defeated the Lions 45-27.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Watching the new Lions coach Jim Schwartz dodge and weave at his weekly press conference tells me a lot about the culture of incompetence and perpetual "wimp-hood" of those types who have been employed by Bill Ford Sr. over his 45-plus years of ownership of the Detroit Lions.

Schwartz unleashed a barrage of excuses, rationalizations, and what ifs, while kicking the can down the road of some imagined future.

When asked about the obvious disparity between Mark Sanchez and Matt Stafford, instead of sucking it up and acknowledging Sanchez’s stellar performance, all Schwartz would acknowledge is that Matt Stafford is the future of the Lions.

The question, of course, had nothing whatsoever to do with the future of Stafford—whose 40 percent QB rating places him dead last in the NFL in that category—but was intended to point out that the Lions screwed the pooch again, like they always do.

Whether it was Matt Millen, Russ Thomas, or Chuck Schmidt, one can count the ways to failure taken from a long history of burnt offerings. Mighty Mayhew, of course, was nowhere to be seen, let alone to fess up; instead, he was taking refuge in the shadows, while Schwartz had to face the music alone for his part in the characteristic "yes man" syndrome.

Of course, we cannot really blame Schwartz or Mayhew for their domesticated male-hood, tied to the corporate culture of kissing someone’s arse. Both have been in the corporate system their entire lives, leading to a man-hood never claimed.  

Conversely, the type of character I am talking about can only be found on a battlefield, in the middle of the desert without water, on top of a mountain, or in the wilderness on a solitary rite of passage.

Sadly—and this is especially true of corporate America or professional sports—Westerners grow up without rites of passage leading to manhood.

And this has nothing whatsoever to do with guild hazing found in different professions or the typical frat boy ritual on nonsense.

An authentic right-of-passage is taken by the individual alone and in the harshest of conditions. Its aim was to initiate one to another status within the tribe; it led to a leadership role.

In undertaking a rite of passage, the initiate sought closeness with the Great Spirit, the Mystery, or higher self. The time alone in wilderness with no food and little water, exposure to the elements without shelter, and being in an unfamiliar place often triggered a radical shift in self and world.

The trail of the passage led to a gift for the initiate at great risk to his of her own life, along with a ritual death and rebirth into authentic adulthood.  

Sadly, modern cultures seem to have forgotten most of what our ancestors knew about the importance of initiatory rites for sustaining individuals and their communities.

Instead, we find ourselves strangers in our own lives, unsure of our status and value and hungry for a connection with the abiding rhythms of the earth and an enduring spirit.

This is the case we find ourselves today with the emasculated males like Mayhew, Schwartz, Lewand, and Ford.

But it certainly reaches out into social praxis for anyone tied interminably to the corporate, fascist, state nexus power dynamic.

The endless fascination with fantasy scenarios is the abrupt severance with the deepest part of any male whose growth potential  has been truncated by the forces of emasculation.