While watching the Minnesota Vikings blow a trip to the Super Bowl with a Heimlich-inducing choke job in Sunday's NFC title game against the New Orleans Saints, a whole lot of feelings went through my body: sadness, anger, disappointment, nausea, vomiting, Pepto Bismol, more vomiting and then sobbing worthy of 14 year old girl who just met that pale guy from the Twilight movies.
But the strongest feeling -- was déjà vu.
You see, no team can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory better than the Vikings. As a child growing up in Minnesota my first memory of the Vikes is watching Darrin Nelson drop a sure touchdown pass that would have sent Minnesota to the Super Bowl in 1988.
I watched them make the playoffs seven out of the next 10 years and fail to make the Super Bowl 10 out of 10 years.
I watched in 1998, as the heavily favored, 15-1 Vikings needed only to make a chip shot 4th quarter field goal to secure a trip to the Super Bowl. They brought out Gary Anderson, who hadn't missed a kick all season. Guess what happened? He shanked it. Vikings lose.
When it comes to tragedy, the Vikings make Romeo and Juliet look like The Hangover.
So why do I keep putting myself through this? Why don't I find another team to root for? A team that doesn't gag like a giraffe eating peanut butter? The answer: for some strange reason -- I still believe.
Being a Vikings fan is like the biblical tale of the Prodigal Son. For you public school people, the Prodigal Son was the heir to a fortune. But he left home and blew all of Dad's money on women, wine and fast -- donkeys. But his Dad did not condemn him. Instead, he waited, every night, praying, hoping the son he loved so much would return. And one day the Prodigal Son returned. And all was forgiven. And there was much rejoicing and then they slew a fatted calf (who says the ancient Israelites didn't know how to party.)
The Vikings are the Prodigal Son.
Next year, I'll try to stay away. I'll try to tell myself that the Vikings aren't ever going to the Super Bowl -- so why bother even watching. But each Sunday, I'll wake up, put on my purple Adrian Peterson jersey and turn on the Vikes. I will get hooked in once again and say to myself, "Self, maybe this season's Viking team is different." I will stand outside, staring down that distant road, praying, hoping this is the year the Prodigal Son will return. But he won't. And I will be in the same dismal mood at this time next year.
But I have a fatted calf on standby just in case.
Patrick O'Connor is an Emmy Award winning Writer/Producer for KTLA.
To criticize, commend or console Patrick on being a Vikings fan, try him at email@example.com
On Being A Vikings Fan
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