Thursday, May 5, 2022

Not everyone is built to be a Minnesota Vikings fan.

If you know, you know.

For as long as I can remember, Sundays were for church, Dairy Queen and Minnesota Vikings football. Church would fill us with hope. Dairy Queen would fill our bellies. And the Vikings were to fill the stats with wins. That didn’t always pan out the way we wanted though. But nonetheless, every Sunday there we were. Cheering for our Vikings. Hoping we’d  be celebrating a victory come Monday morning. I’ve always been a Vikings fan. My dad was a Vikings fan, so I was going to be one too. Football, food and family. There’s something special about that. There’s something special about being a Minnesota Vikings fan. Especially with my dad. 

 Over the years we’ve had our ups and downs as fans. Who am I kidding? It’s been an emotional roller coaster. From 4 Super Bowl appearances (losses) to numerous playoff games (heartbreaking losses) and years of not making the playoffs at all, Vikings fans have been through a lot. 

Picture it. Fargo, ND 1999. I’m lying on my couch dressed head to toe purple and black. Lights are off.  TV is loud. This is our year. It’s been our year all season. They’re setting up the field goal. Anderson has been perfect so far. We’ve got this. Up by seven, but up by ten could seal the deal. Pacing from one end of the room to the other. I can hardly sit still. He’s gonna make it. Holy cow! We’re going to the Super Bowl! Aaaaaand, nope. NO GOOD. And just like that, I’m sick. It feels like someone literally kicked me in the stomach. I can hear my dad yelling at the TV from 100 miles away. He’ll say he’s changing teams. Can’t take it one more year. The Falcons came back down the field and scored a touchdown to bring the game to overtime. The Super Bowl favored Vikings would lose in overtime. By a field goal.

 The year of the Minneapolis Miracle was filled with some of the same, yet different emotions. Down by a point to the Saints in a divisional game of the playoffs, with only ten seconds to go. Another season ending too soon. Well, typical. Last play coming up. Case on the deep drop, steps up in the pocket. Diggs runs long on the right sideline. He fires. And it’s caught!  I’m screaming “Get out of bounds! Get out of bounds!” And then all of a sudden I’m yelling “Go! Go! Go!” I fell to my knees in disbelief. TOUCHDOWN!  I can still hear the replay from Home Radio Broadcasters. “Are you kidding me? It’s a Minneapolis Miracle!” I went from total disappointment to total shock. We won! This is our year. We’re moving on. Another game closer to the Super Bowl. But just like that, the shock and excitement of the win turns back to disappointment. The very next game did not go our way. Another brutal playoff loss. We end the season with still an empty Super Bowl trophy case and zero rings on our fingers. Back to the drawing board.

 That’s the life of a Vikings fan. We remain loyal though. We come back year after year for our team. It takes us a bit to recover from the losses. Each one still stings a bit more. We never forget. But both my dad and I would be back. Every game. Cheering on our Purple People Eaters. Craving another Minneapolis Miracle. 

 I have to admit that growing up watching those games, I never paid much attention to the player names and stats. It didn’t matter to me. What mattered to me was the feeling I felt while watching the games with my dad. Happy. Excited. Nervous. Always nervous. Love. So much love felt for my dad as he and I watched those games together. And talking about those games together over the years. He’d have the “best advice” for the coaches post game! Football. Food. Family.  Nothing beats that on a Sunday.

 The seasons are a changin.

The 2022/2023 season has already started with such immense excitement and intrigue. New coach. New GM. A whirlwind of trade moves and strategies. I mean, who trades down within their own division? Twice! What a time to be a Vikings fan, folks!

 However, as we embark on another season of changes, it will be quite different for me too. My dad, lifelong Vikings fan and my best friend, passed away this April. His season ending too soon as well. So, as I watch our beloved Minnesota Vikings this upcoming year, I’ll be sure to cheer a little bit louder on behalf of my dad. Thankful for the fan he was. Thankful for the fan he made me. Thankful that the Minnesota Vikings brought us together every Sunday for over 40 years. Being a Minnesota Vikings fan isn’t for everyone. But it was for me and my dad.  If you know, you know. 

 SKOL Vikings!

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