Please note, although I am posting this I am not the author, this came to me from one of our Twitter followers as a request to memorialize his father who recently and very unexpectedly passed away, everything that follows are his words.
We lost a true skoldier last week.
First off I’d like to start out by thanking Rob and the Daily Norseman for sharing their platform with me for this. It’s incredibly kind of them to do so and I’m grateful to be able to memorialize my dad in this way.
So here goes…
I lost my father unexpectedly last week to a heart attack. He pretty much died in my arms as we waited on paramedics to arrive.
He was a Vikings fan since the team’s inception when he was a kid. He watched them lose four super bowls and every year starting in late July he’d get excited read for the next heartbreak.
He brought me along with him through the years of loserdom… I remember when I was four years old, I asked him what the team was that had the tadpole on their helmet... It was the first time I made someone laugh… like really belly laugh... and from that moment on I was hooked. It quite literally led to a lifetime of me seeking that reaction from others.
No matter what was going on through the years, whether or not we even liked each other, mainly from me being a hard-headed teenager/early 20 something... we always had Vikings football… On game day we would get together, sometimes in a neutral location, and for a few hours things were fine in the world.
He loved Viking’s football more than anything else in life. It’s one of the few things that really brought him excitement. A few years ago, he told me that he wanted his ashes spread on the 50 yard line of the Vikings stadium... I reminded him that wasn’t real grass and they’d probably have a real issue with the request. “You don’t want your only son to catch a felony for that, do you?”
He laughed and followed up with, then leave me somewhere near the team.. either near the stadium or under the Viking ship at Winter Park.
From the time i was 10 years old, we talked about making the trip to Minneapolis to see a home game together.
30 years we talked about doing this…
Knowing that he was getting up there in age, I realized that it was going to fall on my shoulders to make it happen. And now at 40 years old, I finally reached a place in my career where I could make it happen. I was so proud. And so excited.
For his birthday in June, I gifted him two tickets to the Vikings/Browns game in October. For Father’s Day, I paid for the hotel rooms.
All he needed to do was get in the car and go for the ride. He was so excited, he was beaming, and it was all he would talk about.
We were a month away from crossing it off the bucket list for both of us. And now I’m afraid I’m going to be left with regret of not being able to make it happen sooner.
The phrase, “Just one time before I die” was a common phrase he would use. “I need to see them win the big one, just one time before I die. After that I’ll go happy.”
It breaks my heart that he’s not going to get his wish. Seeing this team win a championship is now my torch to bear.
I now believe that being a Vikings fan transcends regular fandom… It’s far more personal. For some it may even be a vendetta.
In the past week I’ve heard and read so many stories of people in a similar situation to myself. A father figure that introduced them to Viking’s football, that taught them to cheer for an underdog because it builds character. And that when the team finally does win, it will feel that much sweeter because we were forced through a slog to get there. So many similar stories from people who even in times of conflict, set issues aside for three hours a week and stood side by side cheering for this team.
Every story that I read similar to mine made me feel more and more pride for the Viking’s fanbase. There’s no greater company that I’d rather keep.
When this team finally wins a championship, it’s going to be a day that brings a lot of tears. Happy tears from fellow torchbearers who can finally drop the phrase, “Once before I die.” It will undoubtedly be an emotional evening for a lot of folks…
With the season starting in a few days, I well up with tears knowing that first Skol chant that I hear is going to absolutely wreck me. It sucks to realize that I’m not going to hear him from the other side of the couch let out an “A-ROOOOOO” when they get a first down… and I’m sad that I’ll never get to laugh at him mimicking the gjallarhorn sound that came with every defensive third down.
Until then I keep dreaming and waiting for the day that every fan whose lost that loved one that brought them to this team. To this game…
If you get the chance, readers, please remember to hug your family. Hug your friends. Make sure they know how much they mean to you.
Dad, I love you. You were one of my favorite people. You were the hero that I always looked up to. I understand that I have some big shoes to fill in your absence.
I hope I made you proud. And I’ll keep working to continue to do so.
Come October 3rd. I’m making that trip that you and I were meant to take. I promise to make good on your final wish. I just may need to wait for the statute of limitations to run out before I’m able to write about it.
Until we meet at the gates of Valhalla, I promise to keep cheering for this team with every fiber of my being.