What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Congratulations, you Minnesota Vikings fans. You’ve hit a new low in ridiculousness. But in a weird way, I sort of understand why…sort of.
Let’s not kid ourselves. Nothing brings out hate like sports…so much so that sports really have their own brand of “hate.” Let’s be honest, sports “hate” doesn’t rise to what we’ve seen in human history; even in the unfortunate depths of European soccer hooliganism, nobody was building concentration camps. Yet, the “hate” in sports finds its roots in the very same tribalism. At some point, the idea came forth that instead of satiating our common need for rivalry by invading the neighboring city-state, lopping off it’s king’s head, and parading around your streets impaled on a stick, we would settle things by seeing how many times we could kick a ball into a net.
That decidedly European model is precisely why Western sports are all about “hate.” Cheering for your team is simply no fun if you don’t have a rival upon which to wish plague and misfortune. But there’s a component in this which more resembles the Eastern tenets of “karma.”
To illustrate this, allow me to start with the concept of the “hate/karma”” wheel. I had a “Eureka!” moment this past week once the Super Bowl match-up between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. Regular readers of this blog have no choice but to know I eat, drink, sleep and bleed Eagle green and have done so all of my half-century on earth. The fortunes of life have me living in Indiana now; the Colts’ home field is less than an hour from my front door. That’s important because Colts fans have it out for the Patriots stemming back to the days of the Brady-Manning rivalry. That’s also important because I go about my daily life today in Indiana, every time I’m sporting some Eagles’ gear, I get a ton of “beat those goddamn Patriots!”
There’s an old and incredibly circular saying about the “enemy of my enemy is my friend.” Naturally, I’m assuming those Colts fans have no idea I’m a blogger who has written some terribly unkind things about them. Keep that in mind for later; what matters right now is that circular logic leading to the aforementioned “wheel.” It kind of works like the old J. Geils Band song “Love Stinks.”
Colts fans hate Patriots fans. Patriots fans hate Jets fans. Jets fans hate Giants fans. Giants fans hate Eagles fans. Eagles fans hate Cowboy fans, and everybody hates Cowboys fans. But before this week, nobody really gave a shit about the Vikings or their fans. But thanks to your new achievements in advanced bitchery, the entirety of the football knows what a big purple bag of stinking cunts you are.
As an Eagles fan, I wrote a piece a month ago about why I was keeping my “smack talk” mouth shut during this play-off run. That’s because as an Eagles’ fan, I understand all too well how the “wheel of karma” works when you are a fan of a team with a long history of play-off frustration. It has become painfully clear to me that you Minnesota Vikings fans don’t understand this at all. This is made crystal-clear by this piece of footage from KARE-11, the NBC affiliate in Minneapolis.
Well done, Viking fans. You’ve just made everybody in the football world hate you. Frankly, that’s just sad. Before now, hating Viking fans was a bit pointless, because Viking futility was as certain as death and taxes. Before now, pointing out your communal delusions wasn’t “hate;” after all, I’ve said time and time again the genesis of this very blog was when I was living amongst you in Minneapolis and I had to point out there was no way the Vikings were winning a Super Bowl with Brett Favre.
While that chunk of video does a very good job of letting Viking fans play the nerdy “They pelted us with rocks and garbage” twins from the 1980’s Late Night with David Letterman, it also fails to point out a critical fact: YOU VIKING FANS FIRED THE FIRST SHOTS!
On a personal level level, I know more of you than my fair share, and right now there’s a bunch of Viking fans both whom I know and don’t under the belief I didn’t see some of the shots they fired on social media. Well, you all can rest assured that I did, but at the time I wasn’t responding. Not only was this because of the aforementioned “wheel of karma” stuff, but I was keeping the option open in the case of a Viking victory to go the “enemy of my enemy is my friend” route and tell you to hit the Patriots with a bag of chisels and step over their collective corpse. Honestly, I’m so sick of New England I could contemplate supporting the Dallas Fucking Cowboys over that bunch of Boston blow-hacks.
On the level of macro-fandom, there’s really no debating this was all started by the fans in purple. If you doubt that, consider the following:
Exhibit A: Follow this link and pay particular attention to the clip from the Fox affiliate in Minneapolis. Not all people in Texas wear cowboy hats and carry Colt .45s. Not all people in California are weed-chuffing surfers. And not everybody in the City of Brotherly Love is a battery-throwing menace. What is true about Philadelphians is they have a bad case of “little brother” syndrome because the City of Brotherly Love was the principal municipality of early America; then it was supplanted economically and culturally by New York City; then capitally by Washington, D.C. Ever since then, Philly as a city has felt like it has “something to prove.” The fact it’s sports teams have been historically shitty doesn’t help.
The bottom line is that only people with “Philadelphia Clearance” can talk shit about Philadelphia. If you aren’t from Philly or have Philly connections, you can’t throw shade with a term like “gang members.” Doing so simply unites a very large fan base and lights the fuse on a Philly-bomb, which is exactly what you did.
Exhibit B: To be fair, somebody should have warned you not to do this. But you did, and the evidence went viral.
Had you done this at Independence Hall or around the Liberty Bell, no one in Philadelphia would have cared because those monuments are for America. The Philadelphia Museum of Art is all about Philadelphia and it is hallowed ground in that city. Doing this on the “Rocky Steps” (that’s a whole other problem I’ll address shortly) is like whacking a “made man” in the Mafia. If you’re going to do it, you’d better have a sit-down and get permission or there’s going to be big trouble. Not to mention, the woman on whose Twitter feed admits she’s an employee of the Vikings; she might as well be at the height of the “Cold War” filming Soviet propaganda in in the heart of the original capitol of America.
Exhibit C: This was an act of war.
There was no excuse for not knowing what you were doing here. Amongst your legions, there had to be one Viking fan with a friend or relative in Philadelphia. Shit, enough of you know me; you could have called and I would have been more than happy to tell you not to do this. I would have told you putting Viking gear on the “Rocky” statue would be tantamount to going to New York City and defacing the Empire State Building.
As strange and quasi-“white trash” as it may be, the “Rocky” statue on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art represents the very identity of the city. It’s all about the “little brother” thing; Philadelphia was the epicenter of America for over a century until everything was taken away. Say what you will, “Rocky” is what Philadelphians have, and you Minnesotans attacked that. The reputation of Philadelphia fans not withstanding, you would have received the same reaction had you gone to Los Angeles and hung a “SKOL Vikings” banner on the “Hollywood” sign or had you held your rally in front of Wrigley Field in Chicago.
Again if you doubt that, imagine what might happen if a Philadelphia fan festooned the statue of Mary Tyler Moore on Nicollet Mall in Eagles gear, or if Eagles fans held a rally on the lawn at Paisley Park. You would have freaked the fuck out. The bullshit you are talking about pulling during the Super Bowl speaks volumes towards that. You’re taking “butt-hurt” to a new level by cancelling AirBnBs and threatening to sign up as Uber drivers and take Eagles fans to wrong destinations.
In other words, not only did you cross some serious karmic lines, you cried when that wheel punted you in your purple hangers. To make matters worse, you managed to make the bitching about getting some beer thrown at you look like yet another attempt to camouflage yet another big game loss. In 2009, your mantra was “forget about those five turnovers, the Saints played dirty.” Now it’s “forget about the fact our team didn’t bother to show up, they threw beer at us.” What you don’t realize is to the rest of the football world, that makes you look like the guy who calls a dude in a bar out to the alley for a fight, then calls the cops after he gets the shit beaten out of him.
Not only have you collectively become “that guy,” but you are being incredibly dumb about how you’re doing it. You talked a lot of shit, then when you got what you deserved and you’re team didn’t bother to show up, you had a communal temper tantrum the likes of which I hadn’t seen since Hillary voters on Election night. So now you are going to turn down chances to make $1,500 for renting your houses for two nights and risk getting your asses kicked because you can’t figure out Eagles fans will see that Uber story on the web and won’t have GPS on their phones. Good luck with that.
Here’s how I almost understand this. There’s no worse emotional combination than rage and powerlessness, which is exactly where you end up as a football fan when one ends up on the wrong end of a beat-down like the one the Eagles gave you last Sunday. Trust me, as an Eagles fan, I understand this all too well. The Eagles and the Vikings share a bond in futility being the two franchises in the Super Bowl era to have overall winning records without bringing home the Lombardi trophy.
Associated anxieties aside, this isn’t about the pain of losing; it isn’t even about how you deal with that pain. It’s really about pain you inflict upon yourself. Eagles fans eat pain like candy, then we wash it down with hard liquor and occasionally we take it out on a drunken mall-quality Santa Claus. That may be “bad” karma, but at least it’s straight forward and honest.
Think of that what you will, but at least we aren’t “that guy” who picks a fight, doesn’t throw a punch, calls the cops when they lose, then finds the fight-winners car and keys it. That’s what Viking fans are now, and no matter how many times you spin the wheel, that’s even worse karma.