Sunday, December 17, 2006

Hope Springs Eternal

The Steelers clobbered the Carolina Panthers today, keeping their “flickering playoff hopes alive” for another week, at least.

I, of course, could care less at this point, and by the way, I’ve also got some beachfront property in Florida for sale, cheap.

I’m enjoying the late season run by the Black n’ Gold, although it’s a crying shame they didn’t get it together sooner, especially against Oakland last month.

At this point, a whole bunch of other teams have to lose a whole bunch of times for Pittsburgh to make the post-season; in reality, it’s not particularly likely, but I’m glad to have the opportunity to hope for another week.

To some degree, that’s all we ever really ask for as sports fans. Naturally, I want my team to win, but even more, I want them to play. And maybe this is the metaphor for life we’re seeking: I don’t have to succeed every time, but I do want the opportunity to hang around.

At least the announcers haven’t started talking about “playing for pride” yet which is code, of course, for admitting total defeat. I’ve always thought that was a strange way to put it, anyway; “playing for shame” seems somehow more apt.

Next week, against Baltimore, is the real “must-win” game, and having played their worst of the season against the Ravens a few weeks ago, the Steelers have a chance for some minor redemption if they prevail. I’ll take it as a generous Christmas eve gift if they do.

If Pittsburgh goes 9 and 7, even if they don’t earn a Wild Card berth, I’ll consider the season a minor success; if they drop their next two and end up with a losing record, then 2006 has to count as one of the biggest post-Superbowl victory letdowns in history.

Above all, I want them to win next Sunday so I can continue to keep hope alive. That’s all we can really hope for, anyway.


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