This past Monday, I was told by a number of people, "it's only a game." or "I don't understand why this is such a big deal." And I was forced to face a burning issue.
In a year in my life which featured being unemployed, a major move, getting mugged and the death of my father, why was the loss of a football game somehow gaining ground as the straw that would break my spirit? A FOOTBALL game!!!
In my life only one Payton has played football (Eddie), Bud refers to a man not a weed and Drew Pearson is a name only whispered in the shadows. I scheduled my wedding to coincide with the bye week and tattooed the team's logo on my left ankle to coincide with my subsequent divorce. I attend the draft, hit the road, cheer at home and seriously consider those who don't appreciate the game to be sadly subhuman.
So in a year where Favre returned to show the world that down and out doesn't mean old and done, the synchonicity again reared its ugly head.
At 36, I've got a great job, amazing friends and the world's most unique family. And sometimes I still feeled stalled personally and professionally, I am a middle-aged veteran hanging on for a chance to prove I can still do it. Succeed that is. I can totally still do it.
Not the point. The point is, this season week by week I believed in this team, because doing so helped me believe in me. No matter what was going on in my life the Vikes gave me a little something to look forward to.
And Monday I woke up and felt as lost as a 12th man in a huddle.
And then it hit me - NOT THIS TIME.
Say what you want about the NFL. It has too many rules, big attitudes and can be tainted by money and image. But somewhere beneath all the crap - it's driven by the belief, that any given Sunday even the underdog can win. You can't say it about baseball. You can't say it about business, but wouldn't it be great if you could say it - and mean it - about life?
And doesn't that still count?
It would. And it does.
So here's my attempt to keep up the fight, for myself and for my team.
A year-long journal from the 2010 NFC Championship Game to the 2011 NFC Championship Game. As the Vikes chase their dreams down the Mall of America Field, I'll do the same here at the Maul of America. With any luck the synchronicity will continue and by this time next year one woman and one team will emerge Champs. If not perhaps the world will still have room for a couple more lovable losers.
In the meantime both me and the Vikes live to see another down - and in the end that's probably all that matters.