So it was a few days before Christmas, and I got a call from my wife. She was looking for a jersey to buy our sports-loving eight-year old son, Isaiah.
“Are you okay with the Vikings?”
I’d prefer the Twins, but she’s braving the mall so… “Definitely. What are the options?”
“Who’s #14? Would he like that one?”
The last time the Vikings were in the playoffs, a six-year old Isaiah watched our kicker line up a game-winning chip shot and shank it wide left. End of season.
Trying to console him inspired me to write a bittersweet post entitled, “How To Survive Being a Viking Fan.” My closing piece of advice: “Take a deep breath and remember that, deep down, you’re really a Twins fan, not a Vikings fan.”
I was all ready to deliver that advice all over again. See, this was the year Isaiah decided to stop rooting for whatever team was ahead and become a Vikings diehard. Losing yet again was going to be hard… and the Twins should be pretty good in 2018.
But if Stefon Diggs and every other Viking I saw interviewed is to be believed, God intervened a little over an hour ago and instead our team has an excellent chance to become the first NFL team to play a Super Bowl in its own stadium.
Now, nothing in sports will ever seem so miraculous for me as the moment in October 1991 when my favorite athlete of all-time hit a walk-off home run to send the World Series to a Game 7 that the Twins won.
I can’t take my son back in time to experience that moment. But I’m glad that he now has his own ineradicable memory of the untarnished joy that even the most tarnished sport can deliver.