Purple Pain

Isn’t being a sports fan supposed to be an escape from reality?  After all, isn’t life already filled with enough stress?  Your hobby should bring you joy…not pain.  Well, if you are one of the unfortunate people on this planet that calls him/herself a Minnesota Vikings fan, Sundays can feel a lot worse than waking up for work on Monday.

It's not easy being a Vikings fan.

Being a fan has definitely prepared me for life’s disappointments.

You’ve heard of the 5 stages of grief?  Well, if you are a fan of the purple, there is a vicious cycle that we go through continuously that truly pushes our emotions to the limit.  The clinical term for this series of emotions is called the 5 H’s: Hope, Hype, Heartbreak, Humiliation, and Hell.

I have been a fan for 23 years and it just hit me that this is very real and it sucks!  In case you were wondering, we are currently in the Hell portion of the schedule.  How long we stay there is anyone’s guess.

I know what you are thinking, I am out of my mind and none of this is real.  Let’s revisit recent history so that I can map out how the 5 H’s have occurred.

Hope:

Brad Childress was hired to instill a disciplined culture and smash-mouth/defensive-minded identity to a team that was more likely to party with hookers on Lake Minnetonka than win a meaningful game outdoors.  Heck, we even changed our uniforms.

The concept of a disciplined Vikings team both on and off the field was too good to be true.

The concept of a disciplined Vikings team, both on and off the field, was too good to be true.

Hype:

After winning 10 games and earning a playoff birth, the Tarvaris Jackson/Gus Frerotte quarterbacking duo was upgraded to the legendary Brett Favre.  The front office’s belief that Favre was the missing piece was validated as the Vikings established themselves as one of the NFL’s elite.  This was the most complete Viking team that I have ever witnessed: a high powered offense, a disruptive defense, and a clutch, reliable kicker.  The stars appeared to have finally aligned!

With Jared Allen and company, the defense was actually a strength.

With Jared Allen and company, the defense was actually a strength.

Heartbreak:

Do I really need to go here?  Twelve men in the huddle, the horrible interception at the end of regulation, and an overtime field goal to end our season.  Once again we go into the off season knowing that the best team didn’t represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

Favre picked the absolute worst time to break the heart of Viking fans.

Favre picked the absolute worst time to break the hearts of Viking fans.

Humiliation:

The following season can be summarized by the following events: Favre’s retirement soap opera and sexting drama, the firing of Brad Childress after a 3-7 start, and trading a 3rd rounder for 4 weeks of Randy Moss.  The roof literally caved in before our very own eyes.

A symbol of the organizational dysfunction?

A symbol of the organization’s dysfunction?

Hell:

A  disappointing 6-10 season was followed up with a dismal 3-13 encore.  Just when it appeared that we were about to secure our positioning to draft either Andrew Luck or RGIII, we screwed it up by winning a meaningless game late in the season at Washington.  Fast forward to the present day and we still don’t have a quarterback!

Now do you believe me that the 5 H’s are real or do you need more proof?

  • Remember the heartbreak from Josh McCown’s touchdown pass with no time left to end our playoff hopes during the 2003 season? By the way, we started 6-0 that season.
  •  How about the hype of an unstoppable offense featuring Cris Carter, Randy Moss, Jake Reed, Robert Smith, and Randall Cunningham during the 1998 season?
  • Does the 41-0 humiliation from the 2000 NFC Championship Game ever creep back into your memory?
  • Certainly you recall the aura of hope surrounding the franchise when Randy Moss and Adrian Peterson fell into our laps on draft day.

I have come to accept the reality that we are a snake bitten organization.  Jinxed franchises lose four Super Bowls.  Jinxed franchises are ones that establish themselves as the league’s best during a season only to NOT make the Super Bowl.  Jinxed franchises would have a general manager that would trade away every future asset for a running back who would play three years in Minnesota and gain a paltry 825 yards in his most productive season there.

cowboys

Oh by the way, the other team involved in that trade only went on to win 3 Super Bowls.

Did I mention that our timing sucks too?  In the 1990’s, an era when defense and ball-control offense won championships, we were the ones reliant on our aerial attack and looking to outscore teams.  Luck would have it, as the NFL rules changed to create a “pass-centric” league, our offensive identity morphed itself into something out of the 1960’s.  It’s as if the rest of the NFL is currently running on high-speed WiFi and we are operating on a dial-up connection,

It’s just too bad I didn’t see the warning signs as a kid whenever I saw the highlight of longest run from scrimmage on the Metrodome turf.

Tony Dorsett’s 99-yard touchdown

Freaky things just happen to cursed franchises.  How else can you explain this play?

If you are a true Vikings fan then you are used to embarrassing highlights which feature the Viking defense slipping, tripping, and running into each other.

Well we are currently 1-5 on this train wreck of a season and the Leslie Frazier era is sure to expire in ten weeks.  We are certainly going through hell, but with a new coach and a high draft pick will come hope.  Whenever we take that next step forward and have a real chance, I will be prepared for that guaranteed heartbreak (I am clearly lying here).  After all, I am a fan of the Minnesota Vikings.  What other life as a fan is there?  I just wish to this purple pain would end already.

Greek Politics

OK, so you have just graduated college with that degree in broadcast journalism, now what?  Have you given thought to pledging a fraternity or sorority?  I’m not talking about the sportos, the motorheads, geeks, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, or dickheads.  What I meant was have you given any thought to pledging Fox News or MSNBC?

Image

They’ll both adore you.

It’s a difficult decision and that’s precisely the reason why rushing both is so important.  You have to make sure it is the right fit for you.

Let’s start with Fox News.  Can you promise to deliver “fair and balanced news” when everyone with half of a brain knows that you are the mouthpiece for the conservatives and Republican Party?  Being able to say this with a straight face is just as important as being able to mock and criticize liberals for being “soft” and out of touch with real Americans.

Ladies, does this sound like a match made in heaven?  There is a catch, as this sorority will most likely deny you a bid if you aren’t a blonde bombshell.  Your journalistic skills may be impeccable but if you are a brunette or redhead, you will learn quickly during rush week to consider other options.

Meet some of the sisters:

megyn kellymonica crowleydana perinoanne coultergretchen carlsonElisabeth Hasslebeck Joins "FOX & Friends"laura ingrahamblonde fox news

And of course, the house mom:

greta van

How about you guys?  Do you think you have what it takes to fit in with the Fox News fraternity?  Are you the type that any American guy can relate to, you know, “a white guy’s guy?”  Are you willing to ditch your glasses and work the side part?  Are you willing to admit that you love the country music of Ted Nugent and Toby Keith even if you don’t?  Does the sound of America turn you on?

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Looking like Zack Morris can only help your case.

And the rest of the brotherhood:

brett baierSean-Hannitygregg jarretteric bolling

Gentlemen, there is good news for you if the frat house over at Fox News isn’t so appealing.  The alternative is the brotherhood over at Mu Sigma Nu Beta Chi, or MSNBC for short.   In terms of fraternities, this is the closest thing we get to a modern day Lambda Lambda Lambda where brain is valued over brawn. You may want to invest in a pair of spectacles to complement your current wardrobe.  After all, this will be your ticket for upward mobility within the fraternity.

If you don’t believe me, then perhaps you can explain how Chris Hayes went from fill-in host/guest contributor to bumping Ed Schultz from the primetime eight o’clock hour.

ed schultz

MSNBC’s Ogre?

Oh and one more thing, if you are going to dress like a four-eyed liberal,  then make sure your frames are the thick plastic kind.

In the fraternity of MSNBC there is no pressure to try to depict the everyday American man that enjoys drinking shitty beer at a NASCAR race.  You are an intellect whom would drive a solar power car if the opportunity presented itself to you.

Let’s meet the brothers (clap your hands everybody):

chris hayeseugene robinsonezra kleinjonathan capehartlawrence odonnellmartin bashirsteve kornacki

Don’t worry ladies, there’s a sorority at MSNBC for you too.  If you resented those pretty, cheerleader types over at the Fox News house, then you will feel at home here.  In fact, if you are a short-haired brunette, then you have the preferred look, not to mention you won’t have to show too much skin.  As long as you can blame the GOP for all that is wrong and take the left-leaning, liberal angle on every issue, then you will fit in just fine.

And the MSNBC sorority:

alex wagner melissa harris perryrachel maddowtamron hall

Best of luck in your pledging!

Jewish Food for Thought

I am not going to beat around the bush here.  The food of my fellow Jewish people may taste delicious, but the overall image has to go.  We are living in the 21st century.  The public wants to be wooed by trendy labels and unrealistic fantasies.  If there was ever a time to bring in a brand strategist to remarket our product, then that time is now!

No, I haven’t gone mad.  Compare our products to our direct competitors’ and you can see why we don’t have the bulk of the market share.  Our specialties may be as good if not better; however, those “other brands” really know how to sell the sizzle of their steak.

Shall we take a look at “The Tale of the Tape”?

Jewish Delicacy

The Competition

Kreplach

Wonton or Dumpling

Blintz

Crepe

Mandelbread

Biscotti

Chopped Liver

Pâté or Foie Gras

Horseradish

Wasabi

Have I made my point?  Any unbiased mind would agree that it isn’t even close.  If you think that I am wrong, then I commend your brand loyalty.

Which would you be more inclined to order off a menu, kreplach or wontons?  I would be willing to bet that the item that doesn’t sound similar to “crap” would get your vote.

I don't recall anyone ever saying "What am I, foie gras?"

I am pretty certain that the phrase “What am I, foie gras?” doesn’t exist.

I don’t know who this Mandel character is, but is it necessary to continue this tradition of referring to his dessert by his surname?  Is he an egomaniac or just insecure?  This isn’t Izzy Mandelbaum from Seinfeld that we are talking about, is it?

Don’t get me wrong, I love the taste of Mandelbread (even though it isn’t bread) with my coffee, but doesn’t biscotti with a cappuccino sound just a bit more sophisticated?

Finally, my biggest peeve is the sheer laziness in just calling it “chopped liver” or “horseradish”.  We can definitely learn something here from the French and Japanese.  Yes, the public appreciates the honesty, but sometimes we are better off when some of the details are conveniently omitted.  Luckily, we are so desensitized to this that it doesn’t even faze us that we are eating chopped liver!

I realize that we have a pure monopoly when it comes to Challah, Matzah Ball Soup, and Bagels, but keep in mind that for those there isn’t any competition, so basically the name  doesn’t matter.  We can’t let the success of these products go to our heads.

I’m not implying that we need to reinvent our entire catalog here, but a new marketing campaign certainly wouldn’t hurt.