Saturday's playoff game was won by the Bengals, until it wasn't. This too, will be a footnote. Sure it's a squandered opportunity, but we've been down that road before. It will be forgotten by the world. Hell, the media is already moving on. They have winners to write about. What really has changed? We're stuck in time, forever to live groundhog day, only we get older each year.
For everything that's wrong with how the Bengals' season ended, is in fact how it ended. There is no other end, we saw the train wreck in real time. Unable to take our eyes off the carnage. In a long blink the season came un-spooled as we saw our two leaders on defense, two leaders on the team, let their passions get the best of them. There are consequences to our actions and while it is impressive to watch someone feed off their emotions, their actions reverberate through the stadium, through the city, through the tri-state area, through the country, through history. Factions of the Bengals' support staff will remember the angst. The anger that they feel now, the anger that was exhibited on the field. This resonates, this sentiment pulsates through our collective minds to something where the feeling is twisted, bent and formed to something that may seem similar, but believe me, it's nothing like it seems.
There is a bit of shock right now.
There's not really an ability to process what happened over the weekend, we aren't there yet. We aren't seeing the scope of it just yet, some may never. But the veracity is there is no one to blame but ourselves. I know those that are reading this didn't play on Saturday night, but I wager one or two may have thrown debris on the field. Are we symptomatic of what we see? Do we fight back our injustice with violent protest? Those who wear orange and black are heroes. I've always heard that. I've believed that for decades. But after what happened on Saturday night, are we the villains? Are we the dark side? We point the finger. We lash out about how we were wronged. But situations put us up against boulders we never thought we would have to push. A slippery football is dislodged at an inopportune time and our defense is once again called upon to end a game in the midst of a backup quarterback's shortcomings. Guess what? They did it, until they didn't. The ball sailed over the best wide receiver in football's head and the situation was Vontaze Burfict's to judge, he misjudged. The situation was then Adam Jones' to walk away from, he didn't.
A 30 yard gain resulted on an incomplete pass.
We can go around the bend with everything. We can blame others. We can call out inequality, but the reality is we lost. We lost because we failed when we were challenged. We are not the loveable losers, we are the hated and defeated. Brutes reaping what we sow.
We aren't going to process what happened for some time now. We won't process what happens for the rest of the playoffs or moments after they're gone. You know when it will hit you? When you're sitting outside in July. You might be enjoying a holiday weekend with friends and family. You might be mowing your lawn in a sweltering heat. You might be driving to work on an unusually brisk summer morning. That same chill that sneaks up on you as you get to your car will remind you of how it felt in January. Instantly you'll feel yourself transported back to that moment in time. Watching grown men being unable to control themselves in their profession, unable to process what it means to be professional. You'll remember the aftershocks in the media. The blame game. The national joke once again. You'll be sweating, you'll be hot, but it won't be the heat outside. It will be the inability to answer a mental challenge.
We are villains, a fresh bruise that is at the height of its unhealthy color. It will fade, you will forget and so will the world. But you'll be haunted by it, driven by your own back mind synapses. Then when you feel you don't have to deal with it, you'll remember it, every game-day in the new season. A cliff notes version for every announcer to quote in case the world forgot and outside of Bengal nation, they mostly will. Stupidity is always forgotten, no matter how tragic it may seem because in the end, to the functioning adults of the world, be uninteresting. Being ruled by emotion to the point where you hurt others ruins lives.
On the eve of Saturday's game, my mother who is a teacher talked to her class about the upcoming game. They were genuinely excited and why shouldn't they be? Their city, their community was in the national spotlight, they were feeling the effects of the buzz from their parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, sisters and brothers. On Monday it was a different story. It was now a lesson not in taking defeat in stride but in knowing that there are consequences for your actions in life. Because for these students it was a lesson that they need to learn because they are impressionable, they are children, they are fourth graders. But when they watch their heroes disrespect their fellow man, when they watch adults throw trash because they felt wronged, no matter how good a teacher my mother is, our youth are taught by the spotlighted people who play a game. Stupidity is forgotten by adults and impressed upon those who are impressionable. Think about what we have to prove as we wake up each day and if nothing else it's to show others there's something better than winning, there's respect, there's honor.
I'm disgusted. I'm disappointed. This is bigger than football because some Bengal players made it that way. Granted, these players don't lead our world and make decisions that should impact how we live, but when you step outside the rules you make that statement on a grand stage. Stupidity is forgotten, until it's not.
Who Dey? We Dey.