For those of you who love a team, you know the pain.
In fact, I actually cried tears for my team's loss - the second time in the past two decades.
I've been a fan since childhood, but most seasons, I would label myself 'fair weather.' This year, I was determined to stick it out, to cheer them on, no matter how dire their fate seemed.
So I fully committed to a relationship with them. Consequently, the weight of my team's loss was heavy.
Perhaps this kind of emotion seems displaced. After all, there are things happening around the world and certainly in our own United States that are more deserving of tears.
That is precisely why I am trying to figure out why the images that led to the loss just don't seem to leave my mind. And they bring up past images of loss - a near victory in 2009 culminating in an interception, a similar situation a decade earlier.
Most of you have your version of this story, right? "The agony of defeat." Why is it we commit ourselves with such emotion and passion to a sports team - the members of which we do not know personally - for a game most of us have never played? (Although, full disclosure, I was a cheerleader in high school).
I haven't even lived in the state for which this team represents for over twenty years. So what is the deeply-rooted emotional connection about?
I kept asking myself this question through stone-cold sober tears. My husband reminded me that the anguish of my team losing is something I've had to grapple with since I was a child. His reminder: 'You can take the girl out of Minnesota, but you can't take the Minnesota out of the girl.'
(So now you know the truth - my team is the Minnesota Vikings and no, we haven't won the Super Bowl - yet.)
The tribal nature of life. My tribe was dealt a blow. And I felt it, deeply.
Long-time former coach of the Vikes, Bud Grant, was interviewed after the game by columnist Bob Sansevere about the record cold temperatures in which the team played their final game of the season. Coach Grant said,
"Cold is not debilitating. Cold is not bad. I don’t freeze. . . If you want to be a deer hunter, if you want to be a duck hunter, if you want to be a golfer, if you want to sail, you deal with the weather. If you’re not going to do it every time it’s cold, then you miss a lot in life."Talk about a belief system specific to Minnesota: A little bit of cold doesn't stop you.
Coach Grant's words gave me encouragement.
First, as someone committed to a career that involves daily rejection, I am going to have to live in the cold - otherwise I'm going to miss a lot in life. (See previous post "Here's to an Uncomfortable 2016!").
Second, I am committed to throwing off the 'fair weather fan' mentality. I am behind the Vikings come rain or shine (or shanked field goal - aaaaahhhh.). This mentality can also be carried over into my work. Full commitment. Don't give in when the mountain becomes steeper than you think you can handle.
Third, I miss my tribe. Having a team reminds me of my roots, my home. And the strong and courageous and kind spirit it takes to be a Minnesotan.
Leaving home was an event, a marker, a shift, a loss, an uncomfortable time, but necessary as I moved from dependent to independent, from daughter to woman, from sister to friend, from student to professional.
You don't have to move from the mid-west to California to experience this story.
Even if you remain in the town in which you grew up, separating from your 'home' can be difficult.
Even if the family you are leaving isn't perfect, breaking away is uncomfortable.
Even if you move only a block away, there is a loss. A sense of emptiness. For a little while.
The Oscar-nominated film 'Brooklyn' is all about leaving home. The writer describes it this way:
"You'll feel so homesick that you'll want to die. And there's nothing you can do about it, apart from endure it.
"But you will. And it won't kill you.
"And then one day, the sun will come out and you might not even notice straight away. It'll be that faint.
"And then you you'll catch yourself thinking about something or someone who has no connection with the past, someone who's only yours, and you'll realize, that this is where your life is."
Life for me is here in L.A. But I'm a Minnesota girl at heart. Proud to be from a tribe that doesn't let a little cold bother them.
By the way, it took a few days, but eventually, I stopped saying, 'How could he have missed . . ."
I'll be wearing my Vikings jersey on Super Bowl Sunday. And thinking about next season.
Next season we might just make it all the way.