By Hira Imran
Gary Evan’s SOL is a deep-dive into the history of the Detroit Lions like no other. He has written an utterly unique account of the unlucky team and the city they represent and seem to reflect directly.
This is a book that gets to the bottom of it all. The legends. The drama. Controversy. Revelry. And most importantly, the blatant refusal to abandon hope.
SOL succeeds because you don’t have to be a Lions fan to enjoy it. It reads like a generational saga, spanning from the beginning of the NFL to the unfortunate histories that continue to unfold in Detroit, along with anecdotes from present-day Detroit natives and Lions fans alike. This book is a heartwarming and gut-wrenching cross-analysis of the Lions and the city they play for. It illuminates what it means to win a game after losing for so long; what it means to see the light in a city that can often feel shrouded in darkness.
The book begins with an introduction by Taylor Plimpton, son of the famous sportswriter George Plimpton. He played a cheeky role in Lions history, as detailed in SOL. Through Taylor Plimpton’s introduction, it’s even more evident that devotion towards the Lions is generational,
something you inherit, intentionally or not.
Being a Lions fan proves to connect to a particular time, a home, a feeling. It’s a tender memory of being together in mourning, in victory, in times of great uncertainty, and during heart-pounding triumph. The Lions symbolize a clear glue that bonds core memories to the souls of
But how people could be so dedicated to a losing team is what this book ultimately uncovers.
How, so ruthlessly, could people support a team that never seems to win? As Evans puts it, the Lions will inevitably see victory again. And if that’s true for the football team, it must be valid for the city. It’s also about coming to terms with the fact that the Lions represent Detroit for better or worse. Maybe there’s not so much a choice in it as one may let themselves believe. But whether they like it or not, their identities are wrapped up in the team that plays for them, and to root for a losing team is to also root for better days.
All in all, SOL inspires refreshing questions and provokes new, challenging thoughts. It suggests that the Lions are more than just a team because of how intrinsically unique they areto a city that faces so much adversity on its own. And that city is more than just a pin on a map — it’s a living, breathing, unyielding force that continues to keep hope that on the other side of the wall, they are victorious.