October 11, 2010

Viking Madness: A Fan for All Seasons

A Minnesota tradition since 1961

"The Vikings are the number one team at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory," laments Jesse Logan as he watches his home squad struggle against the rival Green Bay Packers. It's near the midpoint of the 2005 Minnesota Vikings season, and this pivotal game can make or break the Vikes' playoff chances. The objective truth is that one regular season game is equally important as any other to a team's success, but objectivity is nonexistent when it comes to to the NFL, where every game is "do or die" and "make or break" (such as, not coincidentally, tonight's Vikings game against the New York Jets).

I've been a Minnesota Vikings fan for as long as I've lived in Minnesota (a little more than half my life), but I'm not a season-ticket holder or face-painter. I don't own a jersey or know all the lyrics to "Skol, Vikings", but I watch the games at home and I hate the Packers. All of this to say that I while cheer for the Vikings every Sunday, I'm not at the level of Logan and his peers featured in Aaron Lubarsky's A Fan for All Seasons. These people are crazy not because of their individual game-day traditions (be it face painting or horn blowing), but because they sacrifice their time, money, and in some cases dignity to one of the most storied franchises in the National Football League that, we must always remember, has never won a championship.

It takes a special kind of insanity to remain optimistic about the Vikings after the debacle that was last year's NFC Championship game (or the same game in '98 and '01), but some fans maintain the credo heard in the film: "Every year, the anticipation is there that your team could win it all." That's true, the anticipation is there - even if a realistic perspective is not.

Obviously I'm still bitter about last year's end (and this year's 1-2 start), as well as some bleed-over from the end of the Minnesota Twins' latest embarrassing season. What kills me about fans here is the typical Minnesota Nice reaction to playoff losses. People shrug their shoulders and say that "it was fun while it lasted" (no it wasn't) and "they did their best" (obviously, they didn't), and then they go out and happily buy tickets for next year's opening day. It's an enthusiastic celebration of mediocrity, year after year after year. Elsewhere, fans (or at least owners) are demanding championships of their teams - and getting them.

I digress; A Fan for All Seasons isn't about my issues with my teams, per se, but it may make you reflect about yours. There are philosophical discussions about family, work, loyalty, and maybe above everything else, passionate optimism. My one criticism is that the film doesn't necessarily delve into the relationship between sport and society as a whole, or even Vikings followers as an overall fanbase. It is more a profile of one season as experienced by a half dozen fans, and the scenes of shouting at screens grow repetitive well before mid-season.

Nonetheless, A Fan for All Seasons was still appreciated by this Vikings fan, even if it forced me to relieve the pain of the Love Boat-cursed 2005 season. But at least I didn't have to watch last year all over again, and, of course, there's always this year. Or next year.

A Fan for All Seasons is now available on DVD 


  1. Well Dan you are far to nice a guy to even discuss the Yankees-Twins series that just finished.

    I'll leave it at that. We have Texas Or Tampa to worry about. Ha!

  2. And we are now 1-3. This team is nowhere near as good as last year's and not resigning Chester Taylor was a huge, huge mistake :(

  3. Ugh, I think it's taken me this long to deal with what happened on Monday night. This movie resonates more than ever.

    Sam...let's just say my heart will be in Texas during this next series. ;-P

    Castor, the Chester departure could be considered one of many miscues, but the weird thing is that we were all so optimistic prior to the season, even without Moss. What a bunch of suckers we were. And always are.


Related Posts with Thumbnails