EDITOR'S NOTE:Texans fan Alan J. Burge will continue to write a "Voice of the Fan" column throughout the 2005 season. His latest installment is below. Alan's views do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization.
Of fire and passion
So here we are again.
What, you ask? Are you going to tell us to stick a fork in 'em again, Mr. Voice of the Fan? On the contrary, I'm in look-ahead mode once again and all the feelings from failings of past weeks are being suppressed just a bit because of the excitement of the weekend.
Excitement, you say? What, are you nuts? What in the world can be exciting about a 0-4 team that's shown only a blip of a pulse all season, especially when they are traveling 2,326 miles across two time zones to play the best offense in the NFL in the sea fog?
Okay, I am going to Seattle for the first time ever with a large group of Texans fans, and will be sitting on the field level at Qwest Field for a Sunday Night Prime Time game on ESPN, so that might add a bit to the excitement level, but…
A clue to understanding this conundrum, is the "it" story from last week. Without going into gory detail, "it" is a pesky little emotion, like one of those small characters standing on your shoulder whispering into your ear. But instead of being a monitor of one's conscience, the little "it" monster lives in your gut and it won't leave you alone. "It" is the fire and passion thing that brings us back here every week. It's the power that if harnessed would allow us to open the roof on beautiful days and forget about $3.00 per gallon gasoline.
Just a few days ago I was taking up this space lambasting the team, coaches and management. Now I'm coming in here spewing all this touchy feely stuff about passion and energy and excitement. What happened, did the Texans threaten to cut you off or take away your season tickets? No. Are you a hypocrite? No. Are you an extremely passionate football fan who at times takes this way too seriously for your own good? Yes. Such is the life of a "committed" football fan.
Just because we demanded change last week doesn't mean we don't love the team this week, or that we're going to abandon them. We say and think those things; at least a lot of us do, because we love the team. We want them to succeed so badly that we tear our hair out and wear our football emotions on our sleeves, faces, pant legs, horn head helmets and everywhere else.
My fit of frustration late in the third quarter of the Titans game last Sunday can be traced all the way back to the Denver game almost a year ago. Remember that week? I do because I had to listen to all the unsolicited Broncos fans smack while riding the RTD back to our downtown hotel
If you can't recall the details, the Texans were coming off a well played 20-6 victory over Jacksonville on Battle Red Day at Reliant Stadium and were sitting pretty at 4-3 overall and 2-0 in the division after a 0-2 start.
No one really expected the Texans to go into Denver and win that day, but some of us held out hope that they could steal one, making an even less likely win on the road at Indianapolis the following week less important.
Instead, something happened to the Texans that day. And it happened right after Kris Brown missed that field goal on the opening drive. That's when the Texans, especially the offense, went into a funk from which they have yet to emerge.
What followed were two blowout losses to the Colts and Jets, followed by a wasted opportunity against the Packers in the Texans' last Prime Time appearance, and then the Browns debacle that in hindsight was nothing more than an ugly precursor to this season.
Ahem, (in my best Vince Lombardi voice) "What the hell is going on around here?" Maybe a better inspirational quote would be Churchill's "when you find yourself in hell, keep going."
Thus, my fit of frustration during the Titans game was due to the culmination of nearly a year's worth of bad play and the realization that preseason expectations of 8-8 or 9-7 were far fetched and unrealistic.