Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Vikings and Me

Four Super Bowl appearances. Legendary Hall of Famers such as Fran Tarkenton and Alan Page (the two Vikings to win MVPs). Wonderful stories. Consistent success.

Nearly there so often.

And so often thwarted with heartbreak and misery.

Old Viking fans can talk about Drew Pearson's pushoff in 1975, and the miserable experiences they had watching their team stink in four Super Bowls. Younger Viking fans can tell you where they were when Gary Anderson missed the kick against the Falcons, when they lost 41-0 to the Giants, when Nate Poole made Paul Allen shout "NOOOO! NOOOO!"

Scars? We've got a few.

What we don't have is a championship trophy. The Vikings are by far the most successful NFL franchise to never have won a championship (not a pleasant honor by any means). The Vikes have a rich, successful history featuring playoff wins and gladiators decked in purple breathing misty cold air.

And that one championship trophy could redeem the suffering of an entire fanbase. That one championship could justify the entire beautiful history of the franchise. That one championship could bring meaning and closure to a team that has had brilliant success, but is left with the emptiness.

Emptiness. That's what it is to be a Viking fan. Glory and tradition that is, ultimately, empty. A great deal of suffering and time and all for nothing.

If the Vikings can win a single championship, nothing else would matter. Future failure (even the much feared relocation) could be soothed with the simple memory. Any time the Vikings lose a devestating playoff game, I could say, "At least they won a championship." I could look at pictures, read statistics, put in video tape. I would comfort myself with the memory of past triumph. Now, when the Vikings season ends, I have nothing. Just that empty, pitiful feeling. I feel like A. E. Housman; every year that passes without a Viking championship is one less chance to see the cherry tree in bloom.

Because every day, yes EVERY DAY, I consider the prospect that I will die without seeing the Vikings win a Super Bowl.

Which means every day I consider dying without fulfillment, without purpose, without meaning.

And that's my life as a Viking fan.

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