Friday, January 22, 2010

The Vikings: My Fourth Favorite Sports Team in Minnesota*

I get the question all the time. Sometimes it's in the form of an email. Other times, I'm stopped in the street or the hall with someone who looks me in the eye as I look them in the spot just to the right of their right shoulder. No matter, it's the same thing that everyone wants to know: Why aren't you more excited about the Vikings?

The Minnesota Vikings are about to play in the NFC Championship game, one step from the Super Bowl. In past years I've written occasionally about good, bad, and mediocre Vikings teams. This year, as they have their best season since 1998 (deep, exaggerated sigh) behind the improbable perfect fit of Brett Favre, they barely merit mention.

Even away from BpB, I discuss them rarely. Yet, the Minnesota Timberwolves, a sad sack wretch of a basketball team in recent years gets the overanalysis from me that is normally only given to DF Wallace, Craig Finn, and my mother. (During the current season, I haven't written much about the Wolves but that's because they started out so poorly that not even their beloved suckiness could sway me. Then, there was the top 100 list. Then, there were the 4 moments and here we are... more than halfway through the season and "we" have got 9 wins.)

So the Vikings sign Favre to go with an offense led by an amazing running back nicknamed Purple Jesus (Adrian Peterson) and a rising-from-out-of-nowhere wide receiver (Sidney Rice). A team that barely made the playoffs last year and didn't make the playoffs in most of the previous years of this decade sits one win from football's pinnacle game. And, seemingly, I don't care. Why? Let's run through the possible reasons:
  • Is it because I don't like Brett Favre. Do I still resent his success with the evil overlords that are the Green Bay Packers and I so dislike their doughy orange-vested green-foam-fingered round-faced fans that to see him in a purple uniform sickens me. No. No. Not at all. I'm glad he's on "our" side. I especially relish the pain it causes the cheeseheads in Wisconsin. I say pile it on. Let's secede those chunky grumps deep into Canada. Let's shore up the borders so no more of "them" make it across. Especially at the St. Croix River crossing over by Hudson. Back to Favre though. I think he's doing a fine job. But I contend - SERIOUSLY - that the Vikings would have still gone 12-4 with Tarvaris Jackson, that they would still be in the NFL's Final 4. But the Favre reason for not mentioning the Vikings much has been quashed.
  • I don't live there anymore. Ha! Like that's ever stopped me. This reason has ALSO been quashed.
  • I really do love this team. I live for this team. So much so that I don't want to jinx anything by talking too soon. No, I don't live for the Vikings. And jinxes aren't real. Quashed.
  • Football is not nearly as much fun to watch as basketball. This is actually true and explains 30% of the reason I don't write much about the Vikes.
  • I never truly felt the Vikings were my team. Shortly after I moved to Minnesota, the Twins won the World Series. And being a lifelong baseball fan, I was hooked on those lovable punks. I remain to this day a Twins fan. And then the Wolves were born in 1989. Sure, I was on my Brea pilgrimage then but I was back in the twin towns the following summer (only to leave again yeah yeah... only to come back again yeah whatever... only to leave again yeah yeah yeah whatevs). But the Wolves were the first team that I rooted for since the beginning of their existence. I grew with the Wolves. I may not have lived there for their first season but I was there for season #2, their first in the Target Center. I was there for the coronation. Which explains another 30%. Which reminds me: (ignore the video; listen to the song)

  • Another 27% could be chalked up to what happened in 1998 when they lost the NFC Championship game in the most painful series of events to strike a sports fan (me) since the 1981 Philadelphia 76ers. Normally, that would make me more of a fan. But with football there are only 16 games a year, not enough to motivate a crushed fan out of his figurative warm foamy bathtub of escape.
  • Another 11% I'll chalk up to the jettisoning over the years of many of my favorite players: Randy Moss, Randall Cunningham, Daunte "Good Boat" Culpepper, etc
  • The remaining 2% of the explanation is due to unknown factors - possibly error or statistical "noise."
Still, I will watch the game Sunday. I will root for the Vikings. I will jump up high (very high) if they win. If they lose, I'll be sad for a minute, I'llshrug when asked if it stings, be told that the sting I don't feel would have been pride fucking with me if I had felt it, and go online to find out the latest on the Timberwolves.

*The official rankings alluded to in the post title:
1. Timberwolves
2. Twins
3. Gophers (Univ. of MN) basketball
4. Vikings
5. Gophers football
6. Wild
7. Gophers women's hockey
8. Gophers men's hockey


Jason said...

Oh you're just another West Coast/Minnesota/East Coast liberal elite strutting around the internet with your typing and words and so on. Brett will come back! Once the warm flesh of the Twin Cities gets wrinkled and cold, he'll come back home and we'll bury him on the fifty yard line with Curly and keg of Spotted Cow.

And Minnesota shares a border Canada, Doctor! Wisconsin does not. I think we know which state needs to be sent to the Maple Leaf Peoples Republic.

Jason said...

Bury him dead or alive, I should add.

Ali said...

I was about to write the following:

Wisconsin shares a water border with Canada. How anti-lake and land-centric of you!

But then I looked at several maps and realized the factual inaccuracies would make me look foolish.

Instead, my official comment will be: If Hawaii and Alaska can be states without bordering the other United States, then Wisconsin could very well be a province without having to abut another province.