The Superstition and Tradition of Football

Was it Kirk’s fault? Or the o-line? Or the defense? No. It’s time to come clean: It was my fault. Every Sunday I throw on my five-year-old Adam Thielen jersey, and my Vikings hat, plop down on the couch, and watch the game, usually while procrastinating on my homework. This Sunday, however, I had a previous engagement. Instead of sitting in my usual spot, wearing the usual gameday outfit, and ignoring homework, I was working on a final for a class without wearing any Vikings-related apparel. Now, I am not telling you that I think if I actually were doing my usual game day routine that it would have erased a 37-point deficit, but the idea crosses every Viking fan’s mind anytime we lose when we haven’t completed our game day routine.

Are We Crazy?
To an outsider, a non-sports fan, we seem crazy and they may not be completely wrong. The notion that we can change the impact of a completely unrelated event by wearing a certain article of clothing or sitting in a specific spot is outlandish. We recognize it too, perhaps not outwardly, but we know that growing a playoff beard is not going to affect our team’s chances of winning the Super Bowl. However, we continue to do it every Sunday because we enjoy feeling like we have an impact on the result of the game. It helps us feel closer to the game as if we’re part of the team. That is all we really want, we want to be part of the team.

We may be a little crazy, but as sports fans, we reserve that right. Football allows us to come together and celebrate or wallow as one. While we might be wallowing now as Vikings fans, all of us still have that hope inside us that we will win the next game. That hope is what connects every Vikings fan. Even though we have been put through rough seasons (Christian Ponder still gives me nightmares) and so many heartbreaks (Blair Walsh…) the hope for a great season wins out every time. The highs of being 8-2 and wins like the one against Buffalo make us remember that we might be a little crazy, but that crazy is 100% worth it.

Thanksgiving Football
Some of our biggest superstitions and traditions come out around Thanksgiving. Football and Thanksgiving have been closely related since 1876, even before the NFL came around in 1920. Thanksgiving gives us a chance to voice what we are thankful for (even though we should probably be doing it more than once a year) while surrounded by family. The holiday also presents the opportunity to crowd around a TV and watch football, a tradition beloved all around the nation. This year Minnesota fans are lucky enough to watch their Vikings take on the Patriots in primetime. While this is a scary assignment for Kirk, both teams are coming off games on Sunday where they put up three points on offense. Of course, the Patriots came away with a win and fared a lot better than the Vikings did, but the Vikings were coming off a game against the Bills that had more emotion than any game in recent memory. A loss, while quite unfortunate, was not detrimental to the season.

Vikings fans could certainly go into the game tonight worried about how we played on Sunday and dread watching the game or we could go into the game with hope. Hope that our team can rebound and get the win. Even if the Vikings do lose (unfathomable, I know) we have to appreciate that we get to watch our favorite team play in one of the most fun traditions in all of sports: Thanksgiving day football. I remember the Vikings playing on Christmas Day 2020. Even though we got ripped apart by Alvin Kamara, it was fun to be able to watch the team I loved with my family. We were able to wallow together, creating a great memory. Football is about more than just the win-loss column, it is about the tradition, the fun, and the hope that we get to experience together as a community.

So tonight make sure to complete your whole game day routine, sit in the right spot, wear the right clothes and watch the game with hope. Embrace your crazy sports fan side, after all, “fan” is short for fanatic. And no matter how the Vikings play, recognize that we are lucky to even be watching the game. Make sure to appreciate those around you this Thanksgiving and make some memories with them tonight because that is what football is for.

Also, do not worry my Thielen jersey and Vikings hat will be on and I will be glued to my sofa tonight. Go Vikes.
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