I didn't comment on MHH at all on Monday. Well, maybe once or twice, but I didnt contribute anything. Or give homage and thanks. Or complain about the defense, or ask where we go from here. I just sat by and watched, with that dull feeling in my stomach.
I snagged one of the only booths left, facing the doorway, and ordered my favorite, terrible-for-me BLT: double B, no T, with fries. I played with my new phone while I waited, trying to figure out how the hell it worked, and tried desperately to ignore the replays of the Burgundy and Blue being shown on the TV in the corner. My food came up promptly, tho, and I started in. Like always, it did make me feel better, but not that much.
As I sat there, eating a future heart attack, I started to look at the doorway as people come in and out. Flanking door, on the walls around it, were framed photos and napkins with various scrawls upon them. I saw Jay Cutler and Tom Nalen in a fuzzy photo that had been taken outside the restaurant once upon a time. Drew Barrymore had signed a scrap of paper up on one side. Woody Paige left a really long, meandering note [surprising no one]. And then, I saw it. Below Paige was this:
I just stopped eating. I sat there, with my food half chewed in my mouth, and stared. I must have been in that diner 50 times over the last 3 years and I never noticed it. Not once. And it was like this huge wave crashed over me. The tension that had built up in my shoulders just leaked out, and that cold thing in my stomach evaporated in one long, warm moment. And I started smiling. The man himself had once sat like I was, awash in diner grease and smelling like coffee, and eaten the same deliciously crappy food.
I sort of forgot it all. All the build-up and let-down of the Comeback. The sickening loss at home in front of a full house. The devastating injuries, the losing streak, the doomed race to 95 and squandered strong start. I just stopped mattering as much as it did just an hour before.
This is my team. I love it. I'll forgive it just about anything [maybe more's the pity about that].
The season isn't over. The deadline is coming. The draft is after that, and free agency, and another year leading into the future. Bright or not, this will always be my team.