Unfortunately, I am a Minnesota Vikings fan. To make matters worse, I am an all-encompassing Minnesota sports fan. And in the 30+ years I’ve spent cheering for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Twins, Vikings, Wild & North Stars, I’ve experienced more than my fair share of heartbreak. For examples of this, please reference: Gary Anderson missing a 38-yard field goal in the 1998 NFC Championship Game — his first missed field goal all season (he’d previously hit 35 of 35, a record at the time) — the Vikings would go on to lose in overtime; Blair Walsh missing a 27-yard field goal against the Seahawks (Vikings lose 10–9); Brett Favre’s interception against the Saints in the 2010 NFC Championship Game (Vikes lose in OT); and A-Rod’s 2-run homer over Joe Nathan in 2009 (Twins lose in the 11th). These, just to name a few.
To add insult to injury, the Vikings are tied for the most losses in Super Bowl history (1969, 1973, 1974, 1976); the Minnesota North Stars lost their only two Stanley Cup appearances before the team was moved to Dallas (where they finally won a Stanley Cup in 1999); the Timberwolves lost in the first round of their first 7 playoff appearances (they have never appeared in a Finals); Wild — 0 Conference Championships, 0 Stanley Cups, only 1 Division Title; and, since 1925, the Minnesota Twins have two World Series titles — to this day, the only two championships of all four Minnesota sports teams combined*. This heartbreak, though, goes largely unnoticed amongst sports fans, and we’re forced to listen to the obnoxious droning of others who claim to have endured more suffering.
This first became apparent during my sophomore year in college. I was living with a Boston Red Sox fan who wouldn’t shut up about the Curse of the Bambino. During those four days in October, when the Yankees squandered a 3-game lead in the AL Championship, we were all sitting on the couch cheering on the Sox, eager to witness the end of the Curse, and bring — what I thought — were much needed winning vibes to New England. But then I started to think…
Wait a minute, New England, the Boston Celtics have 17 NBA Championships. You guys got to watch players like Kevin McHale, Larry Bird, Bill Russell, and Robert Parish. You have 6 Stanley Cups. Your football team would go on to procure the greatest quarterback of all time and lead you to 4 Super Bowl rings (5 total for the Pats). And even before the so-called Curse of the Bambino, the Red Sox still won 7 World Series. To date, New England sports teams hold 37 championships across the NHL, NBA, NFL, and MLB (second only to New York with 50).
During the year I spent living in Chicago, Cubs fans everywhere bitched and moaned at the end of every season, grumbling about their Lovable Losers and how sorry I should feel for them. In fact, everyone seemed to be on the sympathetic bandwagon. Including me. For a while, at least. Then it dawned on me…
Chicago, you guys had the ’85 Bears. You’ve won 6 Stanley Cups. Even if you’re not a White Sox fan, they brought home the World Series in 2005. And, lastly, it’s hard to appropriate much sympathy for a city who had Michael Jordon. Jordan and the Bulls brought home 6 NBA titles in just 8 years (1991, ’92, ’93, ’96, ’97, ’98). For the record, Chicago holds the third most championships by city (29), including a 2016 Curse-Breaking World Series win for the Cubs.
My belief in Minnesota sports teams was waning. And then, just weeks ago, Stefon Diggs caught a miracle 61-yard pass from Case Keenum, something actor Michael Rappaport wasn’t a fan of, even though, and this is true, he’s a New York Giants fan. Putz.
After Diggs crossed the goal-line, we were foolish enough to believe luck was finally on Minnesota’s side. This optimism was short-lived as the Vikings were crushed the following week by more than 30 points in the NFC Championship game. We are left only to suppose it goes with the territory, since that’s the way the cookie has crumbled for many, many, many years in Minnesota.
But too frequently we’ve had to listen to fans tell us how “heartbroken” they are when their team loses. There have been too many instances when Lakers fans have said, “If only Kobe could’ve stayed healthy we would have won x,y,z.” You people don’t know what heartbreak is. So, let us Minnesota sports fans make one thing clear: We’re done doling out sympathy for franchises that deserve none.
Bay Area folks, stop telling us how shitty the Niners are this year. Or how under-utilized Derek Carr is. You had guys like Steve Young, Joe Montana, AND Jerry Rice. Between Oakland and San Francisco, you have 7 Super Bowls, 7 World Series, and 3 NBA Championships. Currently, you have arguably the greatest shooter of all time in Steph Curry.
Angelenos, quit whining about Lonzo Ball’s ineptitude and the heartbreak of this past year’s World Series. You still have 11 NBA titles, 5 World Series, and 2 Stanley Cups. By the way, you now have two NFL teams to which you can show up at halftime and leave halfway through the third.
It doesn’t matter, Clevelanders, if your Browns are 4–41 in their last three seasons. And it doesn’t matter if your Indians haven’t won a World Series since 1946? You have LeBron!
All you Eagles fans out there, if you should fall victim to the Patriots this weekend, thus, preventing you from winning your first Super Bowl in franchise history, fret not, the city still owns 7 World Series , 2 Stanley Cups, and 4 NBA Championships.
To be frank, as Minnesota sports fans, we’re not looking for sympathy; we’re not hoping you cheer us on in the playoffs; hell, we’re not even wishing you hope we make the playoffs; we’re just looking for you to shut your yap when your team loses. So, from this point forward, your belly-aching will only fall on deaf ears. Except for you, Phoenix (combined 1 championship), I think we can universally agree, even you deserve sympathy from all.
*Thank the heavens for the Minnesota Lynx! (4 World Championships)
(Originally published on Medium on January 29, 2018)