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#SKOL

January 15, 2018
#skol

Skol!

That was a helluva game last night. It looked like a typical Minnesota Vikings end of season. They held a 17 point lead agains the Saints for most of the game and then they didn’t. There were seconds left on the clock, no way they could win, but they did.

I don’t need to recap the game, you probably saw it when it happened and if you didn’t, you’ve seen it a hundred times by now.

I’m not even a sports fan, let alone a football fan, but it was…. amazing. 

It’s difficult not to get swept up in the excitement, but we’ve been here before, many times, and … sigh…. we know how this is likely to end. And we know better. And yet…

This season, and especially last night’s win, reminds me of when I am stuck on a level in Candy Crush. I’m not going to purchase any boosters and some of the levels are simply unwinnable without boosters. Eventually the game realizes you aren’t going to pony up any cash and lets you win because who knows, you might in the next really level. 

According to Berg’s Fourth Law of Media/Sports Inversion – A Minnesota sports team may be a contender until the moment the local media actually believes they will be contenders. At that moment – be it spring training, late November in the NFL season, or week 72 of the NHL playoffs – the season will fall irredeemably apart.

It goes for more than just the media, when the folks start believing, I mean REALLY believing, that’s when it will inevitably fall apart.

We’re a group of people who thrive on the negative, as explained here in Howard Mohr’s How to Talk Minnesotan: The Power of the Negative

Certainly, we’ve been doing this since before the Vikings joined the NFL as an expansion team in 1960, but it has served us through the incredible, heartbreaking, frustration and excruciating losses we’ve witnessed in the last 58 years.

I gave up on the Vikings, like I usually do, in the preseason when they lost to the Seahawks. In fact, I declared I was going to make the Seahawks my team going forward. I did this – not because I am a Seahawks fan, but because I was doing my part to ensure the Vikings started winning.

I watched two games in the regular season, both times they lost. In fact, I remember hoping they would lose. Again, doing my part to help them win. When I stopped watching, they started winning. I haven’t seen a game since and even last night’s game I didn’t actually watch until I though they were going to lose and then it was my job, as a Minnesotan, to endure the loss – live.

I have a friend who is not a Minnesotan, he’s from Florida of all places, but has made his home here for several decades. As the Vikes racked up more and more wins he started speculating about the Vikings in the Superbowl, numerous times. Each time I had to remind him that he was going to jinx the whole thing if he didn’t knock it off. I think he thought I was joking, I was not. I’m hoping the fact he is a Floridian will appease the football gods, but for all I know we’re going all the way to lose because someone, who isn’t from here, speculated too soon in the season.

Like all Minnesotans, and some people from Wisconsin, I’ve been let down by the Minnesota Vikings for as long as I can remember. And I do remember. I remember exactly where I was when they lost in ’74, ’75 and ’77. I was roller skating (because there’s not much else for a pre-teen to do in MN in the winter months. I take that back, there is, but we didn’t ski either) and the disappointment was palpable when they lost the Superbowl each time.

I do not come from a sportsminded family. My father would have sooner have bathed the dog after being sprayed by a skunk than take my brother and me to a football game, or any sports game for that matter. I do not understand football terminology or know anything about offense or defense. I just know that the Vikings will make it to the very precipice and then lose in such spectacular fashion – sort of like the Saints lost last night – and once again crush our dreams.

That the Superbowl is in Minnesota just makes it even worse. 

Of course, the reality is that this is just too good to be true. They shouldn’t have won last night, it just isn’t what they do. I really don’t know what I am supposed to do for the next week. I’m in unchartered territory and it terrifies me. 

I won’t say it, but there is a part of me that is beginning to believe that this might be our Candy Crush.

Of course it won’t be, the Vikings will lose next Sunday, and all will be right with the world.

 

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