From Here on, I Have Decided to Be an Optimist

We’re an odd lot, Vikings fans. I won’t explain it to you because you already know; how the decades of disappointment and spectacular losses —  not simple, run-of-the-mill defeats, with which a Browns or Bengals fan may be familiar, but grandiose, cataclysmic rounds of failure that always seem to happen on a national stage — have made us skittish and gun-shy in even the most bountiful times. No matter how good it is, we’re always waiting for it to get bad.

Walsh, Anderson, Favre, that trip to the Meadowlands in January of 2001. Those four Super Bowls. Herschel. I am not ashamed of the way we are, because we have innumerable reasons to be. It’s a psychological defense mechanism, borne from years of heartbreak, so cheers to human adaptation.

But here we are at 10-2, with the Vikings currently holding the NFC’s top seed and everything coming up Milhouse, and still, the creeping doubt pervades. We don’t know how, but many of us are sure (as we always are) they will find a way to screw it all up.

Perhaps they will; the likelihood of a Super Bowl win is considerably smaller than that of a playoff flameout, and that’s not a curse, it’s statistics. But I have decided not to worry about that. No, I’ve opted not to concern myself with what the final outcome of the 2017 Vikings season will be, devastating or otherwise. Rather, I’ve chosen to enjoy the ride. And let me tell you, brethren, it feels wonderful.

I don’t know what’s given me this notion — perhaps daily meditation and dietary supplements aimed at bolstering my psychological well-being, perhaps the advancement in my age that is slowly teaching me not to take certain things too seriously. Perhaps the way Case Keenum navigates the pocket.

No matter the source, here I am, suddenly free from the chains of worrying about the ghosts of Vikings future. Because, as I’ve come to realize (to my sincere astonishment), we can just…do that. We can stop dwelling on what might happen and start reveling in what is happening. And what is happening is your boys taking the NFC by storm.

Seriously, what a season. 10-2, with a virtual lock on a division championship. An eight-game (and counting) winning streak! An unlikely backup quarterback who keeps conjuring magic, week after week. An offensive line that has undergone a seemingly impossible transformation in a single offseason. A run game that has not only maintained after losing its star rookie back, but improved. A championship-caliber defense that features too many standout players to name. Tis the season for counting blessings, and it behooves us all to do just that, as a team so strong in so many facets does not come around every season.

So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Explore, dream, discover, and rip off some Mark Twain quotes, as I just did. Join me if you can in rejoicing in just how fun the 2017 Vikings are, and leave the future to fate. For nothing but the present is guaranteed, and the present, this season, is most excellent.

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Sam Neumann

Sam Neumann is a freelance writer and lifelong Vikings apologist. He has seen his share of Vikings-related heartbreak, but believes we are united by the hope that one day that norse ship will come in. Sam is the author of three books, including the New York Times Bestseller Memoirs of a Gas Station. He lives in Denver, Colorado, and has had it with Broncos fans. You can follow him on twitter @NeumSamN.

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  1. Well said. I have already been implementing this attitude/technique. I say it in most of my comments: THAT I AM JUST GOING TO ENJOY THE RIDE. I LOVE MY VIKINGS, ALWAYS WILL, REGARDLESS OF WHAT HAPPENS, YEAR IN AND YEAR OUT. This team is fun to watch, with great chemistry, a great group of likable characters, talent everywhere, and fantastic coaching. Lets just keep it rollin’, and Keep getting better. SKOL

  2. Yes! If only only have an interest in the destination you miss the excitement and experience of the journey. A life is certainly a journey. Don’t miss it.