Waiting: a Spiritual Crisis
One of my favorite passages in all of literature comes from John Fowles in The Magus, and it seems to me written for Viking fans:
"The smallest hope, a bare continuing to exist, is enough for the antihero’s future; leave him, says our age, leave him where mankind is in its history, at a crossroads, in dilemma, with all to lose and only more of the same to win; let him survive, but give him no direction, no reward; because we too are waiting, in our solitary rooms where the telephone never rings. Waiting for this girl, this truth, this crystal of humanity, this reality lost through imagination, to return; and to say she returns is a lie."
As Viking fans, we survive, but with no direction or reward; we play a game of waiting, and it’s vain waiting, as for us, “this truth, this crystal of humanity, this reality lost through imagination,” will not come. We wait and wait and wait, and all in vain.
A Viking Super Bowl win would give redemption to all our previous sports fan suffering. Alas, we are not fated for such an event: our lot is to continually wait on an empty and hopeless promise. We wait, expecting some redemptive fulfillment for all this disappointment, but it is not our lot. Red Sox fans got it. But we won't.
And so I realize that I cannot sit in my solitary room waiting for the phone to ring: I must seek meaning elsewhere. It is a spiritual crisis, a recognition that the hoped for moment of redemption is for others, but not for us.
It's not you; it's me.
Recently I've heard a few Packer fans suggest that Viking fans are jealous of what Packer fans have, that Viking fans are bitter because we wish we were Packer fans and have their fan experience. Please, stop: it only makes you sound condescending and arrogant. Yes, I'm jealous of any fanbase that has seen its favorite team win a championship. And yes, I'm jealous of a fanbase that has been able to follow a recognized all-time great quarterback for his entire career. But there's nothing special about you in particular: the same standard makes me jealous of Denver Bronco fans. Yep, I wish the Vikings had a championship, and that makes me envious of the teams that do have championships. But it doesn't mean I wish I were you in particular. It's not about you, but about our own suffering and longing gazes toward those who have the joy we wish we had. It's not you; it's me.