Even if you have zero interest in professional football, you likely know that the Minnesota Vikings have advanced to the National Football Conference Championship. If they defeat the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, they will advance to the Super Bowl.
The Vikings defeated the New Orleans Saints in dramatic fashion on the last play of the game. It was an unreal finish. I truly felt stunned and it took a little time to process what had just occurred.
If you have followed the Vikings for several decades you know that they have already been to the Super Bowl four times yet have lost each time. The Vikings broke my heart in the 70’s and 80’s. I finally quit watching them after high school but began following Viking football again in about 2009.
The night of the win I felt such a collective emotion and felt such community with other fans. I watched my Facebook page as constant posts appeared with celebration of the win we’d all just witnessed. It was kind of a rush.
I’m not sure a professional sports team’s fortunes really have that much to do with my life. However, to watch a group display a resilient spirit and teamwork made an immediate difference in my life. It reinforced my perspective and reminded me of how winning or losing isn’t the point of competition although it is the end result. The real point is to pursue a goal that is greater than yourself or even greater than those who work to accomplish the goal. It was an inspiration.
There’s a poem that praises the person who is willing to fight while others sit on the sidelines too afraid to risk pain, injury or humiliation. The Vikings had their backs to the wall at the end of the game. To see quarterback Case Keenum make eye contact with his teammates in the huddle was inspiration. He could have been looking at the ground or acted like he was defeated. He didn’t, he gathered his team and went to work. I know it is just a game but the character displayed in Keenum’s actions showed something in a few images that I would need the whole page to describe. It was character.
I sat motionless when Stephon Diggs caught Keenum’s pass and went in for the go-ahead touchdown. I thoroughly believed the Vikings would get in field goal range but the touchdown was a real smack to my head. There are a few things in life that leave you stunned; some good and some bad. A person has to relive bad experiences over and over until your brain gets tired of the experience and you get past it. You relive the good ones too however these experience slowly unfold in such a delicious way that your brain fights to slow them down so the spirit can enjoy every drop. The Vikings wins was such an experience. I don’t know what will happen this week-end but for now I am going to savor every drop.