Its a condition that you can get used to.
Like a sailor drenched to the bone, yet always thirsty, the fires that the Broncos have lit this year to warm them are a bizarre form of torture, scorching them on one side while the other side freezes.
The great play of our undrafted rookie LB is a boon that forces us to play an unsound 4-4 alignment that our own Hoosierteacher labels "a gimmick run at the professional level." Our QB's immaculate gifts steer the team amongst the reefs of shipwreck as often as they steer us clear. When our best defensive players return to the field, our defense plays worse than when they were gone.
Even when this team sweats they shiver.
As a result they find themselves cast aside by forces that have resisted all their efforts in a fearful kind of silence. It is as if the Broncos are being attacked by fate, and surrounded by an immense cloud of hostility. They have become the enemy because they have had the gall, the temerity, to remain alive.
And on the other side of this vast complex of obstacles the Chargers, too, find themselves rejected by mysterious forces. Both teams have been expelled by the powers that be, and will be the final teams to have their seasons decided, like an afterthought to the league. They call it 'Primetime', but the truth is, the AFC West has become the last item of consequence, on a list of what matters in the postseason.
Surrounded by this coalition of obscure forces the Broncos and Chargers have become the equivalent of a soap opera to the majority of observers. There is 'bad blood' here, they say. Others will stop and watch, because that is what happens at a wreck. Necks will crane. They will stare at the spectacle of the Chargers in their rags and the Broncos with their broken and defective tools, and they will be told that the victor is to receive a crown made of fool's gold.
And in this boundless and empty waste, where there are so many forms of rejection, washed onto a shore scarred by the ebb and flow of a long season, amidst this black constellation of whirling stars, these two teams find themselves surrounded, as in a gladitorial pit of the ages.
Their resources are gone. They have become threadbare and exhausted. Everything is against them and nothing is for them. They are isolated, abandoned, enfeebled, broken down and forgotten. The holes in their rags mirror the holes in their flesh; their hands are torn after dragging themselves through their schedules; their feet are bloody after walking amongst the coals of teams with nothing to lose.
But beneath the eyelids, there is a brilliance.
We declare ourselves by that light that shines from beneath the brow. When there is no light in the eyes there is no thought in the mind. This light is born of resolve, a noble fire that comes from the combustion of timid thoughts.
Thoughts like: 'The AFC West Champion doesn't deserve to go to the playoffs' are the essence of timidity. That some other team is playoff worthy as well does not reduce the value of a division crown, and the AFC West has a history that challenges anyone to insist they apologize for their winner.
And this year's champion will be no different. Almost the whole secret of greatness is contained in a single word: Perseverance. Like a wheel to a lever, Perseverance is the constant renewal of the fulcrum of courage. To achieve triumph there must be no room for argument within a soul, and obstacles must be embraced. Falling does not exclude the possibility of soaring, and only the second-rate allow themselves to be put off course by obstacles.
The sublime have always been stubborn characters. To them perishing is only a possibility. Conquering is certain. They hold disdain for being reasonable, and when they are wrong they are martyrs.
And that two teams efforts seem concentrated on the impossible has not escaped them. To outside observers and those who do not care, this reduces their struggle to a mere triviality. All this preparation, all this work, all this fumbling effort, so many nights of discomfort and no sleep, so many days of labor neccessary to erect this slimmest of margins for success...
A mere triviality?