As a Vikings fan, I have had my soul crushed too many times to recall. I mean, how many different ways can you find to lose a football game? Like the old Tootsie pop commercials starring Mr. Owl said when asked how many licks it takes to get to the center, "the world may never know". As the clock slowly counted down to zero in the first half of the Monday night massacre in the Meadowlands, my wife looked my way and said "now what do they do?" Her words seemed to float in the air in the twelve feet that separated us in our living room. There have been times in my near 40 years of Vikings fandom that I have been angry, bitter or frustrated. I have reached a new feeling and it is one that should scare owners Zygi and Mark Wilf to their respective cores.
I really don't care.
When it comes to the emotional spectrum, indifferent might be the worst on the grid. It means I am to the point where I'm not willing to invest any emotion into the product. Fan bases of sports teams live on the emotional roller coaster, the high of the possibilities that come with thinking maybe this is the year. Ask my family how many times I uttered "this is the year" only to see me crash and burn at the end of the season. Not every Vikings fan is in the same spot as I am. Everyone is in a different place when it comes to their emotional attachment to this franchise.
The question my wife asked me took me a whole two milliseconds to answer. "You blow the whole thing up". The response didn't surprise her, but my tone did. It wasn't said in anger or disdain, it was like I had thought about the pros and cons for about 24 hours and I mean really thought it out. The reality is it doesn't matter. The coach doesn't matter, the offensive or defensive coordinator doesn't matter nor does the general manager. In my 36 years watching Vikings football, I have finally learned that I am never going to get what I truly want. Not because it can't happen, but because it won't.
I don't regret the emotional investment I have made because if I am being honest with myself I love the team. Love is a word that defined is to have passionate desire, longing and feelings for and yes that fits the bill. In the past, I have had the "I'm done and I hate this team" feelings after games like the one Monday night only to come crawling back asking for forgiveness almost begging the team to take me back. I have reached the point where I know my feelings for the team don't matter and with it go my willingness to invest in the product which means emotionally or financially.
Sure, I'll be told that I'm not a true fan and that when I leave that I won't be welcomed back when the team wins the biggest game. Those same people are still in the "next year" phase of being a Vikings fan. Something I am glad I have moved past.