ALLEGAN, Mich. – Every sports team has fans who live and breathe for their team. Even though the Detroit Lions have had little celebrate when it comes to championships and titles, the team still has its share of loyal fans.
One of them lives in West Michigan. Barry Merwin has devoted a whole floor of his home to his team and plans vacations around a football schedule. Merwin said he does it all for the love of the game and the memory of his father.
In the basement of his Allegan home, Merwin has laid out Astroturf. His wife, Laura Merwin, said this a passion project that started one weekend years ago when we she was out of town.
“I came home he had the walls painted blue and silver and the indoor, outdoor lines on the floor,” she said.
Barry meticulously paints the lines on the turf before each game. One of his many pre-game rituals.
There are pictures, press clippings, autographed footballs and helmets lining his basement walls.
Barry even has a memento from the season in which the Lions went 0-16.
“We are die-hard fans,” said Barry. “I got a schedule over here of the 0 and 16 season. Every time that they lose a close game now I will look at that and say it can never be no worse than that.”
His passion was unknowingly passed down from father to son.
“Being such a young age I always remember him out there watching the game while I had to go take my nap,” he said of his dad. “Once my mom fell asleep I peeked through the door and watched the game from far away. And from then on I had never missed a Lions game. My dad passed away when I was nine and this is the way to celebrate him.”
He watches the games now with his family cheering on a team he’s sure will win it all, someday.