Volume 2 , Number 10
October , 1997
Love and Divorce
By Dean Shutt
For the first time in my life I did not read the sports section of today's paper. Every Monday for as long as I can remember I have read the sports section during football season. This morning I did not. My routine has been as unchangeable as it was pathetic. Each Monday during football season I would open the sports section and hope to find some silver lining in my team's latest embarrassing defeat. Perhaps they had shown signs of a ground game, maybe the quarterback had thrown for 300 yards, possibly they had covered the spread. I did not do that this morning though. This morning, I went directly to the comics and then the news; I skipped sports altogether.
Yesterday, while my beloved Colts were being trounced 31 to 3 by the Seahawks, I had what can only be considered a moment of clarity. I realized for the first time in over twenty years that the Colts were never going to be any good. For lo! these many years, I have held out hope that, maybe next year or perhaps the year after, the Colts would become a quality NFL team. For you Cowboy and 49er fans out there let me clarify. I do not mean that I am hopeful my Colts will reach the Superbowl. I am hopeful that maybe, just maybe they will win more games than they lose. I am hopeful that maybe this year I will actually expect my team to win on Sunday. I am hopeful that perhaps this season I can wear my team's colors with pride. After twenty years, these hopes still have not been realized.
The finest year that the Colts have had since I began following them was 1995. In that year they were Fate's favorite team and everything fell into place. They went 9 and 7, and lost in the AFC title game. That then has been the high point of my NFL fandom, 9 and 7, a wildcard berth, second best in the AFC. Since that time they have slipped considerably, going 9 and 7 last year and getting beaten in the first round. This year they are 0 and 3 and have not scored an offensive touchdown. My friend tells me not to worry because this means they will hire Sherm Lewis at the end of the season. It doesn't matter, Sherm will come in and install a new offense and the Colts will still be bad. Someone else will come in after Sherm and install a new system and the Colts will still be bad. No matter what happens and no matter what anyone does, the Colts will remain bad.
With that in mind I am announcing formally that I am sitting out the 1997 season and declaring my free agency as a fan. The paraphernalia is packed away, the bookmarks have been removed from my browser. Later this week I will sending letters to every NFL team (save the Raiders and the Cowboys, since I am incapable of wishing them anything but ill will) informing them of my status and asking for their offers for my services as a fan. I am not asking for much, decent uniforms (sorry Broncos), stable ownership and franchise location and a reasonable shot at a Superbowl within five years. As I said I am not asking for much, just more than my current team is able to provide. I hope if you are reading this, you understand that I am not a fly-by-night fan. I have loved the Red Sox and New York Rangers for as long as I have loved the Colts with about as much return on my emotional investment. I simply cannot take the grinding depression that the NFL season has become, I need a little joy.
This Space for Rent!