I'm a jynx. I overreact. I get mad at simple things.
In the middle of Saturday's 87 sporting events I had to cover, the Vikings were playing a rare Saturday regular season affair.
I wasn't surprised by the score. I really wasn't. And when it got bad, like 23-0, I started getting texts from friends that read like this, "WTH?", "Is this painful", "LAUGHINGSTOCK", "Holy S#%t!", "You have to be losing your mind right now.", Whats happening in Minnesota?"
It was very much a here-we-go-again moment. I've been a Vikings fan since 1976, much longer than most of you out there. And here we go again.
I turned it off because I jynx them. I know most people think that's crazy, but it's not. It happens. When I watch, they lose... or play really bad before having to rally to win.
Today was no exception. I turned the game off my Hulu. I was watching while the Fort Madison boys were playing Centralia down in Keokuk. They won by the way.
I had a camera in one hand, a notebook in the other, and my phone sitting on the bench next to me running the game.
When they got to 23-0 I turned it off because I was causing a rift in the Viking wormhole. Anybody that's been around as long as I have wearing purple and gold is cursed with that power.
I can change the game. By turning it off. When I turned it off, they gave up one more touchdown. It took that long for the juju to run the length of the wormhole to U.S. Bank Stadium.
Then after the half, I had written it off. We'd have to wait til next week to get our playoff spot - I thought.
Soon someone texted me a pair of eyeballs. Uh. Oh. I switched from Hairband Radio on Sirius XM - and that takes something special to drop Kip Winger and Faster Pussycat - to the NFL PXP stations. The Vikings broadcast fired up and it was Paul Allen.
Now, I love Paul Allen and I'm a big radio sports fan. Most of the time I prefer hearing it on the radio and letting my imagination provide the color, but this guy was ANGRY. He was calling for players to be ejected, and refs to do their jobs.
Granted, there was a lot of foundation for those comments, but when you're getting your butts kicked, you're getting your butts kicked.
The Vikings had cut the lead to 33-28 in the fourth quarter and I was just pulling up to FMHS for the finals of the Fort Madison Wrestling Invitational. They got second by the way.
I waited in the parking lot and fired up the Hulu again. When I did, the Vikings picked up a fumble and ran it back for a touchdown - that was nullified by an inadvertent whistle. Jynx.
I shut it off, feeling like I had let Vikingdom down, and started hoofing it the two blocks to the high school cause the place was packed.
I walked in and a couple FM coaches were watching the game and asked me if I was aware what was happening. "No." "I'll jynx it." "When I watch they play bad."
FM wrestling coach Ryan Smith went a step further and was wishing for the Vikes to fumble the snap or something. He takes reverse psycyhology to a whole new, disturbed level.
But they didn't fumble the snap, they actually scored and then, by some freak of nature and the sanitizing of the wormhole that always takes place when I abandon the game, they scored on the 2-point conversion to tie things up.
I said screw it and put the game back on Hulu while I was covering the wrestling tournament. Teague Smith was wrestling in the championship match when the game went into overtime in Minnesota.
I had the game going on the phone and was shooting the match. I set the phone down on the floor and watched it and the match at the same time. I've never done that.... ever.
This was something special. I put it under the chairs where Derek Doherty and Ryan Smith were shouting out strategies. I caught Doherty look over at the phone a couple times and felt bad about putting it there, but I couldn't turn it off.
The Vikings ended up winning on a field goal in overtime, setting a new NFL record for the biggest comeback win in history.
My phone blew up. My daughter called from New York. my wife was watching in Texas. and everyone in the 319 area code sent me texts.
"What A Win"
"Why are you so mad, they WON!"
"I've been crying a bit!"
Reality is that I can't flumox the outcome of a football game. And I know it. But you can be sure that when the Vikings make the playoffs, I'll watch until I can't and then I'll jump back again.
I don't have the heart to abandon the Vikings even when I empty the wallet to attend a game where they lose 40-3...to the Cowboys.
If you can't abandon them then, you're never going to- But that's Beside the Point.
Chuck Vandenberg is editor and co-owner of Pen City Current and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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