Before the advent of Direct TV's NFL ticket, we watched with parts of our families surrounding the tube. For some of us, we religiously watched alone, as it just didn't seem to be important to them. In those days it was hard to find someone that shared the same passion, but they were there nonetheless. Some were closet fans, that secretly rooted for the Vikings, but couldn't do so openly as it would upset their father's Giants of the 50's or the Packers of the 60's. We just didn't realize the extent of the frat ... forged in a shared experience of pain.
Over time, things changed. Satellite television. At first we watched at someone's home, later we made our way to the sports bars. It was then that I saw my fellow patriots and when the Vikings were doing well, they were loud and boisterous. We numbered in groups of about four hundred or so, taking over a large section of a ware-house bar. Time changed, and the winds blew us into different directions, but we remained faithful and so ever hopeful year after year.
It was then that I noticed the pain. It showed itself in the faces of some hard drinking men that wondered, when would be their day. Most of them don't even know that the Vikings have an NFL Championship ... the last NFL Championship. Somehow because we have never won the Super Bowl and now have been waiting since 1977, that they, as Viking fans, are somehow the outcasts of society or that they have some type of character flaw. They don't.
Somehow we have become fractured, divided and conquered. There has never been the sense that the Minnesota Vikings, the only team that represents a region, not a city, as being beyond some artificial borders or region. My brothers are in agony as they have shared the very same history and they now live throughout the world. Somehow, we've forgotten that.
For the ones that are lost, and are downtrodden, hear my words. From them you will remember.
My hero is the NFL's Iron Man. The hall of fame mocked him. The world doesn't even know who he is, but I do. I will never forget. When I ran in my youth, my gate flowed as if I were floating, but there was only one Foreman. When I dream, I dream of a mighty front four as if they were the four horseman of the apocalypse. My hero doesn't have four (4) Super Bowl rings and acts like a complete clown on an NFL pre-game show, he sits on a State Supreme Court bench in the state of Minnesota fighting for children's knowledge throughout the land. My hero helped me to develop a sixth sense that I didn't even know that I had, to avoid the casualties of life. Somehow Fran always knew that a defensive lineman was about to pound him into oblivion, but his sixth sense allowed him to repel his foes like a powerful electro-magnet. My list of hero's is endless, but the man who would stand atop of it all, never once uttered a word in my lifetime. He didn't have to. Many of us modeled our personal careers and our astute coaching skills from his teachings. They called him Old Stone face. He didn't need to use words, he spoke with body language and with eyes that could pierce steel. His message was always the same. You couldn't give coach anything but everything that you had in your tank because his eyes could examine your soul like reading a common news paper. What most didn't realize was that your fellow patriots could also read the reviews, and no one was willing to face that embarrassment. We all know that wasn't Bud, and that wasn't what we were all about, but unfortunately, he was had no choice ... he was a mirror.
Remember who and what you are. Now get on with it!
The Viking Ghost