I'm not entirely certain of the history behind New Year's resolutions, but I bet it was all started by someone with high cholesterol resolving to eat less Hardee's Monster Thickburgers or someone in a scarf aspiring to make a movie as good as Mighty Ducks (a quick Google search suggests that's not exactly accurate).
A New Year's resolution is a personal commitment or goal that someone makes for -- you guessed it -- the new year. Typically, the resolutions deal with reforming bad habits or ameliorating lifestyle changes. I imagine for most men the annual resolutions are along the lines of eating healthier, drinking
more less beer and not allowing your better half to trick you into seeing the new Twilight movie.
New Year's resolutions are so cliché, there's no way our favorite sports teams and athletes don't formulate them, too, right? Well, either way, let's hypothesize what 2011 resolutions will (or should) be made by the figures of the Detroit sports landscape. I'll divide the resolutions into the months of the year, so I can focus on what's most relevant within the given month.
January -- Pistons will do more cardio workouts
Most people vow to run more in January, and this usually works for about two weeks before reverting to the couch to watch "Malcolm in the Middle" reruns, but the Pistons need to stick with it to get into better shape for what could be a make-or-break month in their NBA season. In reality, the Pistons are in better shape than anyone who makes this resolution, but the Pistons need to start picking up the offensive pace; more cardio workouts should help. The Pistons play at the penultimate pace in the NBA, yet perform better when they are pushing it and moving the ball around. The only logical explanation for why they don't play at a faster pace more often is that they simply aren't in tip-top enough shape.
February -- Pavel Datsyuk will pass the Adam Banks test
The Red Wings' leading scorer, Pavel Datsyuk, broke his hand when he fell awkwardly on it during a game against the Canucks on Dec. 22. The consensus was that he'll miss at least four weeks, which should actually have him back by the end of January, but it's conceivable that he could be out until February. In the aforementioned movie (D2), Coach Bombay lost his best player Adam Banks to a wrist injury and forced him to rotate a stick to prove he could play with it. Datsyuk's injury isn't the same as Banksy's, but passing the test will be a good indication that his hand is fully healed and he's ready to clown opposing defensemen again.
March -- Jim Leyland quits smoking and cussing
For the past couple of years, Tigers skipper Jim Leyland has sworn off smoking and swearing. Similar to the guy who promises to get in better shape, but is back on the couch eating Hostess Cakes a few weeks later, it isn't long before Leyland's huffin and puffin, and it's laced with expletives--all it'll take is a game ridden with Ryan Raburn errors or the sight of Jason Grilli. That shouldn't stop Leyland from attempting to resolve his vices another year, though.
April -- Fox Sports Detroit will kill "April in the D"
We get it; the Pistons, Red Wings and now Tigers are playing, but there's no need to give some garage band their calling and overplay all month long the cheesy song they create. If Fox Sports Detroit were to listen to this sick tradition's heathens on the internet, they'd kill the idea completely this year. Or at least restrict it to the first week of the month and not every single freaking day. (Cue the unforeseen "Heyyy, I like that song!" comments)
May -- Dominic Raiola will attend anger management courses in lieu of minicamp
May is usually when NFL teams report for spring minicamp, but, with the current collective bargaining agreement expiring in March, there's a chance the players will be locked out. Therefore, Dominic Raiola is going to be an angry man with lots of time on his hands. Rather than taking his emotions out on fans, locally and on the road, he'd be better served to spend some time with Dr. Buddy Rydell and channel that energy toward, you know, blocking.
June -- Mike Babcock will smile
It is well documented that Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock is a cold-blooded immortal. In June, the Red Wings will undoubtedly win their illustrious franchise's 12th Stanley Cup, which should induce something that at least remotely resembles a smile. I mean, if adding another Stanley Cup to the Triple Gold club member's resume doesn't crack a smile, I'm not sure his face will ever be capable of movement.
July -- Tigers will continue to play baseball during All-Star break
The All-Star break is supposed to be one of the more joyous, relaxing times of the baseball season, but for the Tigers in recent years it has signified the end of good baseball. In each of the last five seasons, the Tigers followed up an at worst .500 first half with a losing record. In all, they're 170-210 after the break over the last five years--a .447 winning percentage opposite a .567 first half winning percentage (245-187). That can only mean the time off during the All-Star break is the devil, right? Well, the Tigers could potentially put an end to their second half troubles by planning to continue playing during MLB's short recess. Holding intra-squad games or getting everybody on the American League All-Star team should solve all the Tigers' problems.
August -- Lions will be on HBO's "Hard Knocks"
Call me the king of wishful thinking, but there's nothing--and I mean nothing--I want more than to see the Lions win the Super Bowl in 2011. If that's going to happen, it'd be almost equally amazing for the Lions to confidently give HBO an all-access look at the 2008 pre-season champs leading up to the regular season. I'd have to purchase several more slacks if the Lions organization has this as a resolution and it actually happens.
September -- Michigan State will avenge 2009 home loss to Central Michigan
In 2009, Michigan State was supposed to be playing a cupcake game against Central Michigan at Spartan Stadium. Instead, they were dealt a heavy dose of Dan LeFevour and a stunning loss. On Sept. 24, 2011, the Spartans will have a chance to clip the Chips for restitution in front of their home crowd. The game is sandwiched between at Notre Dame and at Ohio State for the Spartans, so there's a chance MSU could overlook this one again; that is, unless they make it a New Year's resolution not to.
October -- Michigan football will not collapse
During Rich Rodriguez's tenure as Michigan's head football coach, the Wolverines are a Matt Millen bad 1-11 in October. The only win has been a 42-35 shootout victory at lowly Indiana this season. The 4-0 and 5-0 starts are nice, but the next step is winning conference games in October. In 2011, Michigan will face Minnesota, at Northwestern, at MSU and Purdue in the month of October.
November -- Rich Rod won't make headlines for his football banquet speech
There's a chance he won't be giving any football speeches, but, if he does, he should probably intend on keeping it relatively low-key. And by relatively low-key, I mean, sans the season comparisons to natural disasters that take innocent lives or any song on a Josh Groban CD. If this isn't Rich Rod's last week as head coach at Michigan, he'll first strive to win more games and, then, hopefully give an unregretful pep talk for a Rose Bowl game or, even better, a National Championship.
December-- Matthew Stafford will be healthy
Stafford's been in the NFL just two seasons and ended both on the injured reserve. Of the Lions' 32 games during his career, Stafford has played in just 13 and had to leave four of them early with injury. How important is it for the Lions to have Stafford, their best QB, healthy all season? Look at the New England Patriots, who have made the playoffs in seven of the last eight seasons. That one season they missed the playoffs, Tom Brady was out with a knee injury. If Stafford makes it a New Year's resolution to remain healthy into December, surely it'll happen and the Lions should be playoff bound in 2011.
Honorable mention resolutions:
Justin Verlander will throw a perfect game in June: The Tigers were robbed of a perfect game in June 2010 and Verlander threw a no-hitter in June 2007. I'm pretty sure the pattern plays out here.
John Kuester will find a rotation he likes: Kuester has used so many five-man lineups (over 20), which has caused some turmoil throughout the season, it had one player calling the team a traveling circus. Kuester's job may depend on this resolution.
Ndamukong Suh will not get fined for tackling quarterbacks: Lions rookie DT Ndamukong Suh has been fined a couple times this season for hits on quarterbacks--Jake Delhomme in preseason and Jay Cutler in Week 13. The Cutler hit was clean, but the hit on Delhomme was a little dirty. A little. Suh will aim to stop writing the league checks.
If you have any resolutions the Detroit teams or individual players will or should have for 2011, leave them in the comments. I'm going to get started on planning my resolutions now. Happy New Year, everybody.