The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Sunday, December 22, 2002

As football-crazy as this country is, there are some places in this grand land where the approach of NFL Sunday is regarded with a certain amount of dread. And those places are in and around Cincinnati, where the Bengals never fail to disappoint in fulfilling that sinking feeling. As they careen through another laughably losing season, the mood around the Queen City's pigskin ground zero is equal parts somber and comical.

I've ruminated before about how the Bengals make me feel oddly nostalgic for the days of the bad ol' Bucs. But I don't think I adequately got across the whole experience of living in the presence of such an inept football team (an experience which Cincinnatians are now numb to). Unless you've been around it, it's hard to properly convey. The inevitability of all the frustration, shame, and hopelessness makes for a heady brew, and eventually you just have to laugh over the whole thing.

And of course, now that the Buccaneers are regular playoff performers (and likelier Super Bowl contenders than ever), the times are, in some ways, less interesting. I keep things jolly by noting how many die-hard Bucs fans are crawling around the area--and how their years of die-hard support coincide nicely with the years that the team started winning.

Anyway, for one day, things are happy in Bengal-Land, as Cincinnati upended New Orleans 20-13 today.