You root for your team's football players. You root for your favorite football players regardless of team. There are different kinds of football fans out there, and to each their own. But generally speaking, regardless of whether or not your rooting preference is because of a team or because of a particular player, you typically root for someone because they're great at glorious positions. Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson. They're the best at incredibly exciting positions, and generally good guys off the field. So, they have heavy jersey sales and scores of fans.
There's not a lot of people out there who have the jersey of a punter. That, mind you, also goes true for 3rd string linebackers, a team's backup QB, whatever. It's the glory positions that get the... well, glory.
I'm buying a Chris Kluwe jersey. Now, after he's been released. Yes, I am a Vikings fan, so it will be a Kluwe Vikings jersey, not the Kluwe jersey of whatever team is likely to pick him up now that he's on the market.
Why? Because I got to root for a player that rooted for my family.
So maybe I never cheered when Kluwe went out onto the field. I mean, he himself said it best on the Colbert Report, and I paraphrase: he was the official surrender-er. His job was to go out and give the ball back to the other team in the least humiliating fashion possible. Nobody wants to see the punter take the field, and for good reason. And Kluwe always seemed cognizant of that fact.
But have you ever had a player on your favorite team pull for your own family? Let me tell you, it is a truly special feeling. By the way, what the hell am I talking about?
My sister. She's gay. She's in a committed relationship with another woman who I think is awesome (and a great person for her by the way). She's also my older sister, and she's been a pain in my ass, and I've had at times a love/hate relationship with her, even spent a few years really not talking to her because of stupid crap that siblings get into before growing older and realizing is... well, stupid crap. I remember as a kid running around the house from her as she tormented me. At one point she hid in my closet and leapt out to scare the living hell out of me when I was in my room. She is an awesome older sister and a pain in the ass all at the same time.
But she's my older sister, and I love her. The way a younger brother loves his older sister.
No, Chris Kluwe has never met my sister. My sis doesn't follow football and I don't think she even knows who Kluwe is. Also, my sister lives in Florida, so Kluwe's vehement and ultimately successful defense against constitutionally banning gay marriage in Minnesota did not actually affect her.
But the fact that someone on the Vikings- the team I obsess over like a religion- spoke so strongly on behalf of rights that my sister is denied; I can't really put it into words. No really, I can't. It's a deep seated emotional feeling that goes beyond the confines of constructed language.
Maybe some of you know how I feel. There are a lot of Vikings players who are great human beings. John Sullivan helps out with handicapped children and I know that is very special to someone here at the Daily Norseman. Is that any less than what Kluwe meant to me? No, of course not. So, again, I know there are those here who know what I'm talking about.
So maybe I'm selfish to post my own personal ‘thank you' note to Kluwe on DN, but hey- I've never been shy about abusing the power of being a contributing writer here.
Chris Kluwe- thank you. I don't know if you know what it feels like to be able to effectively root for a guy- even if he is the punter, the guy you never actually want to see on the field- who's rooting for your family. But it's unspeakable. (In the good way, not the H.P. Lovecraft way.)
I'm OK overall by the way with this decision on behalf of the Vikings. I watched a video of Jeff Locke the other night and yes, he's a great punter. He's younger and cheaper and that benefits the team. And as a Vikings fan, I'm always going to have to be OK with the moves that benefit the team overall, because I'm a team fan, not a player fan (not that there's anything wrong with being the other).
But I'm buying Chris Kluwe's jersey.
Because, thank you. Thank you from this rabid Viking fan. And more so, thank you from this rabid Viking fans' family, even those who don't follow football, because we all want her to have the same rights that we all enjoy. And you stood up for her. Even if you never knew who she was.