I wish I could…

be a Minnesota Vikings fan. Of my 50 years the large majority of them have been lived in and around Minnesota and most within an easy drive of my family home in Mahtomedi. Yet for some reason cheering for the home team has eluded me.

It’s not the team itself. Although they’ve never won “the big one” the Vikings are a decent team usually at least somewhere between the top and the bottom of the league. Like any other NFL team they have their heroes and their crazies, their glory days and times that everyone would like to forget. Certainly compared to some other teams, like the Detroit Lions, they’ve been fabulously successful.

So why am I not in purple and gold on Sundays? Some of it is the lingering effect of wonderful childhood memories of the Packers. When I was a child it was the still the age of heroes and the Packers were ours and mine. At times I think the truth is that I’m really a fan of the Lombardi era Packers and the current team gets my loyalty only because they are their descendants.

Some of it is the way some native Minnesotans treat people from Wisconsin. There is a kind of myopia here among some who were born here, a conviction that this place is the center of the civilized world and that there is no life outside of Minnesota. People from the Dakotas are clods. Iowans are idiots. People from Wisconsin are some kind of hillbillies. A good thrashing of the Vikings is a way to send up the snobs.

Most of it, though, is about the fans. There are true blue die hard Vikings fans out there but it seems that most of those who cheer for the purple and gold flow up and down as per the team. Win a few and the bandwagon starts to fill up. Lose one and it empties. The needle seems to be pinned on either adulation or contempt and very few seem to be happy. One can almost hope the Vikes win a Super Bowl just to shut the whiners up but that seems to be little reason to cheer for the team.

Who knows? I could get that episcopal phone call and we’d be off to a new city and a new team. I’ll probably get the new jersey and join everyone else in the fun. It just doesn’t seem to be happening here and until then I’ll stick with green and gold.


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