It's been a while since I wrote my first diary back in July of '07, which if you read it should give you plenty of ammunition against any prediction I might ever make again. Since I'm leaving for a very comfortable new home on the other side of the Earth in about 24 hours, I thought it might be worth it to get some perspective from everyone.
In three seasons, we've gone from a team with hopes to a team of jokes. Coming off of an 8-8 season, the Rams had reason for optimism. It seems like an eon ago. Now, we're saddled with excuses, injuries and tenuous prophecies of future Ram stars. Not an inspiring trio. Still, I have cause to believe.
If we can fall so far in so short a time, we can rise just as quickly and beyond. Sure, there are players on the team that inspire us from time to time. We know the names. They're the few who avoid our weekly/daily/hourly/constant berating, and for good reason. What really inspires me though is this community. It's not that our dedication to the Rams makes them any better. It does, however, make them much more bearable.
Being a Rams fan in the south is brutal. I'm surrounded by SEC fans and NFL fans of successful teams every year. It's tough. (Especially since I went to UNT, who appropriately is on par for futility with the Rams, although we have one hell of a stadium being built soon.) Despite the hostility of so many south-tards who know so little about football and yet cling to such successful programs or franchises, I have a sanctuary of knowledgeable compatriots who share a singular goal: a competitive Rams team.
Van has his statistical analyses and segues. TackleBox and taiko have been two voices of even-keeled temperament that help turn Overreaction Monday into Semi-Rational Tuesday which leads to Partially-Reasonable Wednesday which inevitably becomes Optimistic Thursday. CoachConnors and VTRamsFan, the elder statesmen of optimism, provide an all-to-rare sense of true significance when it's most needed. There's the entire starting team of edpjr, james535, Carneros, TrojanRam, ram_rod, loyal2therams, AbsolutMoose, bruinfanbaby, CaliRamMan, Nbr1RamFan, stlcardinalsfang, jb22 and WaZuP cReAtOr along with a slew of people whos names escape me that contribute in so many ways to TST. So consider this a bit of a promise.
I promise that when I return around October of 2010, I will be as dedicated of a Rams fan as I have ever been, regardless of how many rehabilitated fair weather Steelers fans I come across. I swear to follow the Rams until, during and after our next Super Bowl victory. And I promise to make every effort to continue to be a part of this community despite my deployment.
Sure, I have bigger priorities: mission and family, in that order. But as long as those two are good to go, I'll make time for TST, because this is more than football. And one day, we'll be thankful.
And in case this is required reading for the Rams cheerleaders, I expect to see Michele around July. Make it happen, Devaney...
Holler at your boy.