Monday, January 25, 2010

The pain of a Vikings' fan



My first memory of shedding tears was watching the Vikings lose to the Chiefs in Super Bowl IV in January 1970. I didn’t shed any tears when Garrett Harley kicked a 40 yard field goal in overtime last night, but the emotion I experienced was the same.

Being a Vikings fan is now rivaling being a Red Sox fan before they won the World Series and being a Brooklyn Dodgers’ fan before they beat the Yankees in 1955. Red Sox fans were convinced that they were cursed by the Bambino after they traded Babe Ruth to the Yankees. The problem for Vikings fans is our drought hasn’t been broken yet. My rational side doesn’t believe in curses, but how else can a person explain how the Vikings could lose such a winnable game.

How do the Vikings fumble twice inside the Saints ten-yard line and fumble inside their own ten-yard line?
How do the Vikings have 12 men in the huddle on the most important play of the year, AND when they were coming out of a time-out?
How does the official throw IN OVERTIME an interference flag on Leber when the ball was clearly uncatchable?
How does Brett Favre throw an interception when he and every person who has ever thrown a football know that he cannot turn the ball over in that situation?

Each of the above plays didn’t lose the game, but mix them together and the brew concocted tastes what Vikings fans were belching after the game. Terrible turnovers, bad coaching, questionable calls. Those descriptions could be used to describe the 1975 loss to the Cowboys and the 1998 loss to the Falcons and now will be used to describe yet another inglorious loss in Vikings history—2010 Saints.

My reaction to the game has illustrated that I will always be a Vikings fan. For weeks prior to the game I was joking to my friends that the Vikings had to earn my heart back. I shared that I’ve had my heart broken by the Vikings too many times to get on the bandwagon. I was going to root for them, but I wouldn’t give them my heart. Hmmmm. I guess I proved that idea wrong as I was screaming more than once at the television at my neighbors’ house last night. (And I had never been to my neighbors’ house!! Just proves that decorum goes out the window when fans are rooting for their team. What event besides sport causes us to scream without embarrassment in another person’s home?) Despite my pre-game boasts, I had deluded myself—I had given my heart to the Vikings—and they proceeded to break it again. So I guess I’m a Vikings fan again. On Facebook my fellow linebacker at Carleton told all Vikings fans not to get near the kool-aid today or do much with sharp knives. Good advice. Because many Minnesotans experienced rage at about 9:30 p.m. Central time last night.

It’s “wait ‘till next year,” again. It’s an old saying—and connects Vikings’ fans with long-suffering fans everywhere.

1 comment:

Duane said...

I got over the loss quickly. The Vikings just had too many turnovers. I enjoyed your comment about the 1970 Super Bowl vs. the Chiefs. I missed the entire first half because, being Christian Reformed, I was in church for the second service that afternoon. But I still feel a twinge every time I see the old tape of Hank Stramm on the sideline. I still can name all 11 starters on the 1970 defense -- most of the numbers, too.