"I'll remember this game when I get old."
My first job was a summer job working for my dad in his office. He was the CFO for a home health company and I was doing data entry with manual timecards. I remember I caught a guy who was falsifying his time card and my dad bought me something or another as a reward.
My first baseball game was at the Astrodome. Nolan Ryan was pitching and they still had that crazy scoreboard which, as a 5 year old, I thought was the greatest thing in the history of mankind.
My first kiss was with this girl with long, curly hair. She was smoking hot. My first of other things with women shall remain classified for the sake of blog decency.
My first live playoff game was at the old Miami Arena where the Heat played the Atlanta Hawks. The Heat were massive underdogs, not yet the most hated team in sports, and lost.
My first time getting drunk is a lost memory, but my first hangover resulted in me swearing I would never drink again.
My first time breaking a real promise to myself was only a few days after my first hangover.
We always (or almost always) remember our first. Second events may be better or more rewarding, but they are rarely more memorable. Barring some miraculous event in this Sunday's game, we will not spend our waning years spinning tales to our grandchildren about the day the Texans played the Ravens in the divisional round.
If the Texans win, then the AFC Championship game will immediately be more important and if the Texans lose, the Cincinnati game will always be more memorable.
And that's the way it should be.
The thrill of losing our playoff virginity has now passed and the Texans are now just another playoff football team trying to survive the week. After yearning to join this exclusive club for so long, we are now "just one of the guys."
There will be no inspiring speeches or emotional posts this time around, and while it was fun to live in that moment, I think most rational Texans fans would rather be in this position. I do not want it to be a momentous occasion when the Texans succeed. I want it to be expected.
In last week's post, I made a comparison between Texans fans and the convenience store clerk from Fight Club saying that, because of the fact that our fan base has been so tortured and starved, we can appreciate small victories more than others.
This is still true. It will never cease to be true. Cherish last weekend. Remember it like you remember the first time you saw boobies (or whatever the equivalent memory is for women).
Then pray to whatever deity you worship that you never feel that way again.
While we may embrace this first playoff run, the idea is to repeat the experience frequently. We want to be one of those teams that doesn't place any special meaning on a simple playoff berth. We want to be one of those teams that is disappointed when it doesn't happen.
That doesn't mean we need to become one of those terribly annoying fan bases that looks down on other fan bases and is hated by all. We should always remember the pain of the playoffless years and the sting of disappointment. I will be pretty upset if five years from now, people lump our fan base in with Cowboys or Steelers fans who have that annoying sense of entitlement.
Still, should this year follow up with another 18 years of despair, then even this past weekend will feel pretty hollow.
Fortunately, the Texans leadership has positioned the team for sustained success. It took longer than we all would have liked, but with a young and explosive offense and a young and destructive defense (led by an old and staying-in-Houston defensive coordinator), the team is set to experience many more playoff games in the years to come.
As the second playoff game in Texans history approaches, the Texans are no longer the wide-eyed innocent child seeing the playoff frontier for the first time. They're not hardened veterans either, but they have a playoff win under their belts and the prospect of many more in their future.
The focus this week is on the game and not the spectacle. It's on Arian Foster and Ray Lewis. On how T.J. Yates will react to the pressure from the Baltimore defense or if Joe Flacco can lead his team past a swarming Texans defense.
With no disrespect intended toward Cincinnati, the challenge this week is far greater. The probability of the season ending this weekend is much higher (as it should be as a team advances through the playoffs). The stakes are higher.
But this week it's all about playoff football and less about a statement.
Last week tGC implored you to "enjoy the shit out of every second" of the playoff experience. That's good advice and you should probably try to adhere to that again.
When you turn on your televisions this Sunday, though, you won't see Bum Phillips leading the charge out of the locker room (side note: I can't help but wonder if that moment pulled at Wade's heartstrings enough to play a minor role in his decision to cancel his interview. If so, shrewd move, Texans).
While last week's game is the one I'll remember when I'm an old man sitting in my rocker and yelling at these kids to stay off my damn lawn, from a football perspective, this weekend's game is far more important.
May the endings be similar.