When it was first reported that a Lions fan from Munising (in the Upper Peninsula) was planning on walking 425 miles to the Lions' facility in Allen Park, many people thought he either wanted attention or was just plain crazy. As it turns out, though, 63-year-old Joe Paquette simply wanted to do something to inspire the Lions and deliver the message of Sisu to them.â†µ
"It means perseverance and being able to bounce back from a difficult situation, which we all know the Lions are in," Paquette said Wednesday. "I said that's what the Lions need, they need Sisu. But how do you get it down there? Do you send them a letter that ends up in the waste basket?â†µ
"After the holidays when my weight and my cholesterol and my blood pressure all went north I said, 'Let's get into a little more committed routine of walking.' About March I said I feel good enough to bring Sisu to (the Lions)."â†µ
And bring Sisu to the Lions he did. Paquette arrived at the Lions' facility in Allen Park on Wednesday and was greeted by the team. He was able to deliver his message and will even get to watch Saturday's Lions-Browns game as a guest of the team for completing his 425-mile journey from Munising to Allen Park.â†µ
"We've had a long training camp and it was nice to see someone who had as long a training camp as we did," said Lions coach Jim Schwartz. "Football is a game that's meant to be played with emotion and you need to have some excitement, and Joe brought some excitement.â†µ
"Lions fans never cease to amaze me."â†µ
Ain't that the truth. It takes a lot to cheer for a team that has only one playoff win since 1957, but it takes even more dedication to walk 425 miles with the simple goal of inspiring that team. Job well done, Mr. Paquette.