Tomorrow I'm faced with a dilemma. The 49ers, the team I've supported much of my life (except during my Steeler years in the 1970s) plays the Lions at Ford Field. The two teams, which haven't done much lately come into week six with one loss between them. The 49ers have been rather successful over the past 30 years, but the Lions really haven't been all that great since the 1950s, back when the city of Detroit was still one of America's leading cities. The move to the suburbs had already begun, but the Motor City remained one of the great industrial cities in the world, home to the Big 3, it dominated the automobile market. That was then, but in recent years Detroit the city has mirrored Detroit the football team -- not much good news.
Detroit isn't back to full health, but the recently resurgent Lions may serve as a harbinger for the future of the city. There are already signs of growth. Young Adults are moving down to the city. In places around the stadiums and the cultural centers there are signs of vitality. And today I heard that Michigan is leading the nation in adding tech jobs. The suggestion is that Michigan could be the Silicon Valley of the Midwest.
Could this happen? Why not?
I'm getting ready for my fourth Michigan winter. I'm not from here. I don't know what it was like back then. But I've caught the bug. I believe that something good can happen here in Michigan. I'm looking forward to working on bringing this to fruition. But for this to happen it will take a lot of work, and it means letting go of the kinds of attitudes that have hampered renewal, including the ongoing hostility between city and suburb. It will take a commitment to work together to create the kinds of infrastructure that will fuel renewal -- including a strong mass transit system that includes regional light rail.
So, won't you join me in praying for good things to happen in metro-Detroit! May the Lions and Tigers not be distractions but signs of health!
Oh, and at least this Sunday my loyalties will switch from the 49ers to the Lions!