To all loyal Vikings fans across the earth:
This week has been a difficult week for the Vikings family. The loss of Tony Sparano, and Bud Grant losing his son to brain cancer, we are reminded of the fact that we are all mortal, and that there are moments that go beyond cheering for the Vikings on Sundays.
This past fall, I went to London, not only to see the Vikings crush the Browns, but to also visit friends who I had lived with abroad during the 2008-2009 academic year. I went to the game with a close friend, and the seats were purchased for me as a birthday present by my beautiful girlfriend, Amanda. Truly there is nobody with more love and sweetness in their heart than Amanda. At that moment, I viewed myself as the one of the most fortunate men on this planet, not only for being at the game, but knowing that my girlfriend had a heart that was bigger than the Vikings margin of victory on that day.
It was also the last time my life would be normal.
The next morning, I landed at JFK Airport. When I turned on my phone and called her, she told me that an oncologist sent her to NYU Langone Hospital, after finding something in the center her brain. Amanda had double vision for a few weeks, which we initially believed was simply a coronary issue. The following day, I was with her at the hospital after going to my recruitment firm’s office for a few hours. Not long after showing up, the doctor’s uttered the words from hell, “We found a tumor in the center of your brain. Due to it’s location, it is inoperable. We will perform a biopsy to find out what it is.” There were so many words we could say, but all we did was cry.
One week later, the results of the biopsy came back. Amanda was diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, known as ‘Diffuse Midline Glioma h3 k27m-mutant.’ A stage 4 brain cancer with a horrible prognosis. I have watched her suffer for months on end. But her strength, is a reminder to me about what courage really is. She has fought so many obstacles in this time, and each passing day, it is difficult to tell how many more she will have to battle.
When one is battling through a situation like such, there are very little things that can be done to take your mind off it. The performances of Mike Zimmer’s team the following game after Amanda’s diagnosis (a win in Washington), and all the games until the NFC title collapse, made for a very nice distraction, even if for only a few hours. All of this, from a team that had obstacles to overcome, from Bridgewater to Bradford, and then Dalvin Cook, it not only became something to take my mind off things, but a situation that while obviously not remotely close in terms of magnitude, was very relatable in terms of watching people fight their hardest to overcome adversity.
Like Bud Grant, I have had to watch brain cancer destroy someone I love from the bottom of my heart. I’m sure there are some of you reading this who might have been through a similar situation. Remind yourselves of what’s important to you each time the Vikings let you down. Writing this, and for ‘The Daily Norseman’ in the future, is important to me not only because of my affection for the Minnesota Vikings, but because Amanda is a seasoned writer, and every article I write in the coming days, are dedicated to her, and the desire she always displayed to do something more.
I look forward to sharing my thoughts and opinions about the Vikings, as well as fantasy football. The upcoming season has me playing in 9 leagues, and it is the distraction that myself, and perhaps many of you, could use. Until next time, SKOL.