Vikings Tales: Bittersweet Wins, Long Fall Seasons

PJD is on a quasi-sabbatical for a while. We won’t be doing any real news updates for a week or so. Instead, we’re going to run a feature called Vikings Tales where PJD and several guest posters share stories that they have which may or may not peripherally relate to the Minnesota Vikings. Enjoy. Today’s post is courtesy of PJD himself …

In the fall of 2004 I was dating the woman I would later go on to and marry. We dated throughout most of college, but had a difficult go about it because we went to different schools about an hour and half away from each other in Minnesota. Ever talk on the phone every night for an hour when you’re not 12 anymore? Yeah, it’s rough. It’s a lot cooler to be actually touching a female body. If some of you haven’t done that yet, just trust me on it. Regardless, things were about to get a lot more difficult as she was heading overseas for a semester this fall, leaving this Sunday morning. Together with her Packer fan dad, we hopped into the car early and drove her to the airport to see her off.

If you’ve never sent someone away for a long period of time like that, it’s a bit surreal. You know you won’t see them for a while, but at the same time you’re excited for them. You get to go to England for four months? I’M JEALOUS but also happy for you. For us, it was weird since we didn’t see each other during the week anyway. For me, I’m a bit of an idiot, so I was like “Whatever, it’s just like I’m sending her home and I’ll see her in a week anyway.” Oh, to be retarded and naive again. After hugs goodbye and awkward touching in front of her dad, she headed off and a Vikings fan and a Packers fan left together.

I remember driving through the bridge around South Saint Paul on 494 (that’s the right one, isn’t it?) on our way back. I hadn’t really talked much with her dad at this point, and when two guys get together it seems pretty natural that football comes up. It didn’t take long before we started ribbing each other about the Vikings and Packers rivalry. We both remained very cordial throughout the entire discussion, however, and to this day the split allegiances haven’t caused any significant riffs. As it turns out, one side of her family is filled with Packer die hards (except the grandma, who loves the Vikings I guess. We’re cool.), mine is filled with Vikings fans, and she could care less. It works out swell as we all remain friendly for the most part. However, I will point out that I was at a family gathering in 2009 when the Packers lost to the Buccaneers, and silently I was smug facing everyone the entire time. Shit was classic.

Once I dropped the dad off I zoomed back to Minneapolis. This day was filled with a lot of weird emotions as I sent of the GF, but also got to watch the opening Vikings game as well. In 2004 it was a game against the Vinny Testerverde led Dallas Cowboys when Daunte Culpepper went into Jedi Master mode and threw for 242 yards and five touchdowns. Even Onterrio Smith took one to the house. You can even watch video highlights of it here. It was a great day and, little did I know, would turn out to be a fall filled with notable memories, both of the girl and of the Vikings.

I don’t know why this game has stood out for me for so long. Part of it was the balance it provided for the day, and the table setting it did for my fall. I remember the entire fall being rather positive. Sure, it was lonely at times and I felt like a loser a lot wasting weekends playing video games like a zombie instead of seeing people, but then Sundays would roll around and a magical Vikings season (this is the year they beat Green Bay in the playoffs, remember?!?) would makes things a little bit better. Even now, those Sundays remain a highlight during dreary Novembers.

PJD

About PJD

I once saw Paul Edinger kick a 56-yard field goal for the Minnesota Vikings against the Green Bay Packers to win a game in the Metrodome. It was exhilarating.

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