I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Disneyland.
Or Disney World
But if you HAVE you’ll know that there are several rides that you can’t miss: Indiana Jones, the Incredicoaster, the Guardians of the Galaxy ride, Star Tours, Big Thunder Mountain or if you’re new, the Radiator Springs Racers.
And unless you have a Fastpass the process is the same: get in line, look at some of the sights and sounds to prep you for the experience, then sit down, buckle up and be ready to be whisked away on an entertaining journey.
On Space Mountain, often the line exceeds an hour, waiting either outside in the hot California or Florida summer time only for some cooler air-conditioning to be a sign of getting closer to the payoff. Loaded into cars going up a track the Space Mountain voice counts down “3...2...1...Blast off” and you’re catapulted into a dark room full of stars.
In this capacity...there’s a lot in common with the first game of an NFL season.
There’s a waiting period, a lot of build-up and then finally a short, fun adventure and story to go through before the ride comes to a stop and you’re ready to get back on again.
In this sense, there might be some evaluating of the ride, the twists or turns or parts that maybe were a little hokey or perhaps a REALLY fun bend that whirled to thrill the passengers.
And in the end you wind up right back where you started, showing that it’s not about the destination.
The 2018 Arizona Cardinals had the same: a much-hyped draft selection of Josh Rosen only to get into a car with the promise of fun to find out that the ride had broken down before it had ever really started. It makes it kinda hard to get back in line, or for some, makes it easy to jump and want to check out something like Pirates of the Caribbean instead.
Things aren’t going to probably end in a super bowl appearance for the Arizona Cardinals this season (and if you think it is well, good luck to your future endeavors on getting that tattoo removed) but they don’t really have to in order for this season to be a memorable one.
One worth the time.
There’s enough questions about a first-time coaching staff for many, the defense stopping the run, those corners without Peterson and Alford, and an offensive line that for Game 1 against a Lions defense that’s strong up front going without their best offensive lineman at Right Tackle.
That’s a lot.
But there’s also a lot of hope in a quarterback like Kyler Murray, who’s showcased the ability to stay cool & make smart decisions under pressure while dazzling fans with his arm talent and running ability.
There’s hope that this team won’t see a crushing 24-6 loss in which there was nothing singularly fun about last year’s Week 1. But honestly, who knows if that happens anyway? If the team blows out or is blown out, wins or loses close, overreaction regardless will be the case.
When I was little and went onto Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, the entire journey ended with the car I was in seemingly getting hit by a train and ending up paying for the “sins” of fast driving in Hell.
I said to my mom: “Mom, I want to get off of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.” Now? It’s comparatively tame as an adult as I’ve seen and heard it all before.
Maybe as Cardinals fans it’s the same, from good to the bad. And if the team does struggle and lose, maybe we’ll say “Knew it, Cards football never changes” and be ready to say “I want to get off this ride” as well.
But my advice for Cardinals fans?
Dont’ worry. Just take it all in stride this afternoon.
The NFL is full of rising and falling like the rise and fall of a coaster and in the end it’s just nothing more than a sport played to thrill.
And the hope is that Kyler Murray will offer some of those dips and curves and loop-de-loops. But there will definitely be rookie struggles...not just from the QB. So even if he doesn’t or the game tomorrow ends in a loss, it’s not something to mourn or dwell on in agony.
Be willing to ride the ride, folks. This is a young team overall and an abundance of challenges will be present and if Kyler Murray is “the guy” in that pursuit of a young franchise quarterback that many believe he is, he’ll be willing to meet it head on. And that will be a story to follow more entertaining than anything the Mouse can throw at a theme park if this 5’10 baseball player turned Heisman winner can give a promise of a land of milk and honey.....er....wins and sports optimism to a parched desert.
Josh Rosen and Steve Wilks couldn’t bring that for more than one crazy winter day at Lambeau field and under the pressure would melt more often than not. Perhaps Murray does too, but nothing so far would indicate than anything outside of disaster could slow that ride.
Don’t be angry, Cardinals fans if the ride breaks down or slows to a momentary halt. There’s plenty of time to yell about the defense or offensive line after the season is over.
For now my advice would be to just enjoy the ride as long as we get it, as there’s only one Kyler Murray rookie season that we’ll ever get to see.
So cheer long and cheer loud no matter what your thoughts are on the treatment of Rosen or the suspension of Peterson or even the off-field issues that the executives have. Teams are built on an idea and a community; of more than just one. A stage of one for an audience of all. And in the end as any theme park or ride fan can tell you, it’s never the destination that truly matters to love and adventure and hold it dear.
It’s the journey.
And that begins today against the Detroit Lions, so don’t be scared.
Cause I’m sure that Kyler ain’t given what he’s said in interviews and how he carries himself.
He isn’t falling or sinking low into a panic when the play isn’t there at first.
He’s gonna take this fanbase for a ride. He’s ready to rise.
Are you? It’s time to....
RISE UP, RED SEA!