Open Letter to Percy Harvin,
I saw something the Tampa Bay game that impressed me more than anything I’ve seen in a long time of watching the NFL. It increased my respect for Percy Harvin and had nothing to do with his impressive athletic abilities.
I have been watching NFL and Vikings for longer than I care to admit. I now have the special experience watching games with my twelve year old daughter. I think she started watching just to spend time with me, and somewhere along the way became a Vikings fan too.
I believe it is tougher these days to respect athletes or celebrities. I’m not sure if my feeling is because I am wiser (older), if the culture has changed – or maybe both. I try to teach my daughter that a person is not necessarily the same person in life as the character they play or are promoted to be on TV. Personal images and reputations can be a made and careers in public relations exist to do just that. I try to share with her my experience that skill doesn’t always parlay into a good character, so she should appreciate the talents but judge character separately after you meet or observe someone. I am trying to teach her that she needs to look for the little things in life that speak volumes about someone through their actions.
So what was it about Percy Harvin that impressed me so much? It was not the touchdown that you scored in the Tampa Bay game but what you did afterwards. We have watched every game this season and seen that just about each time you score, you hand the ball to a fan. This is much more impressive to me than the famed Lambeau Leap but accomplishes the same thing. It involves the fans in the experience of your game. It gives a special, almost irreplaceable moment to a fan. A moment that based on experiences will be a moment that most will share with friends and think fondly for the rest of their lives. I assume there is still a fine or cost associated to doing this as in the past, yet you still do it for the fan.
So what was so special about the Tampa Game? What made that touchdown more impressive? When you handed that ball to a fan, the fan dropped the ball back onto the field. It was right on the TV for everyone to see. My first thought was –“oh, man”.
Even better, you saw it, you went to the ball, picked it up, and turned, and made the concentrated effort to give it back to the very same fan while other fans were reaching out for it. That was so impressive! In that action, you sent a message that this isn’t just a habit, it isn’t a gimmick, it is something that you are intending to do for the fans, and for that moment you are not focused on anything but giving that fan something special.
I am happy this season because the Vikings finally look like that young team where you can really appreciate the character as well as the skills. A team that is appreciating the fans and trying to bring them into the game experience. I was really glad to point that out on the TV to my daughter. I can’t tell you how much respect I have for you doing that and how that one action brought back memories of being a kid who wants to root for the players as much as the team.
Thanks for that and best of luck in your career!