And now, as the Vikings get ready for the 2010 season, I have to be honest: I do not believe the Vikings will win the Super Bowl this year. For the first time in over a decade, I do not have that unbridled hope. Everything went right in 2009 but they blew the NFC Championship Game with turnovers and a 12 men in the huddle penalty. I just don't believe 2010 can be better. I can talk myself into it, and I'm sure there are moments where I have real hope. But mostly, I don't believe. My spirits have finally been crushed by this team.
But you know what? That's OK. All my believing never actually willed the Vikings to a Super Bowl, so it doesn't really matter, and the year I don't believe might be the year they actually do it (see how I talk myself into things?). And it's also the best thing for my sports-sanity (barely hanging onto the ledge at this point). Spending every year believing "This is the year!" also means watching every play of every game with intense, emotional, passionate desperation. Maybe that will fade a bit this year (it reached its peak during that NFC Championship game). Maybe I'll enjoy football a little more.
So how about you? Still clinging to the "This is the year!" hopes? It's not like I gave them up; it's more that they were taken away from me.