The State of Football in Minnesota
The state of Minnesota has Vikings fever; from restaurant drive-thru signs providing score updates to casual Fridays morphing into Vikings’ jersey days, the enthusiasm is ubiquitous. The fervor is well deserved; the Vikings are a Super Bowl contender, and as Pacifist Viking wrote in reference to what this means to the Vikings, “It could mean redeeming the ending of ’75, of ’87, of ’98, of ’00, of ’03. It could change everything.” To provide a glimpse into this Vikings mania, follow me through my day on Friday at the elementary school where I work.
Upon reaching my desk, I was greeted by Brett Favre on the cover of the current issue of Sports Illustrated. Knowing that I call Wisconsin home, my colleague across the hall thought it would be nice to provide me with an image of Favre in purple to start my day. Once the kids arrived, the purple passion grew. My guess would be that at least three-quarters of the students were wearing Vikings’ jerseys, sweatshirts, or some sort of Vikings’ gear.
Once classes began, the usual morning announcements commenced. However, today’s were slightly different. Wedged between the birthdays and the pledge of allegiance was the Vikings’ rouser: Skol Vikings. As I moved through the hallways amongst the paper horns the students had made in their classes, I reached the third grade room where I co-teach. I was welcomed by a student whose mother had used eyeliner to paint “GO” on one eyelid and “VIKES” on the other.
The day’s theme in the book we were reading was betrayal. As I stood in front of all the purple Favre jerseys, I couldn’t help but notice the obvious example. I didn’t bring up the connection until we met in small groups. The conversation that followed was far more intelligent, logical, and thought provoking than most, if not all, commenters on Packers’ and Vikings’ blogs. Even if the conversation was led by a 10-year old girl who had put “eye black” under her and her friends’ eyes.
It wasn’t all Vikings’ fans at school, however. I spotted a Donald Driver jersey in a third grade room, and my personal favorite, a fourth grader wearing an Aaron Rodgers jersey, Packers’ pajama pants, and to top it all off, a foam cheesehead. But, I digress.
Even Minnesota’s own, Prince, is getting in on the action. I’ll leave you with the song he wrote after watching the Vikings pummel Dallas last weekend. I’ll let you make your own observations about it.