Greetings from the soon-to-be Frozen Tundra, friends! We survived the first week of the regular 2011 NFL season, much to the joy of the Green Bay Packers fans.
The Saints fans? They are probably not as chipper as I am, but they fought a good fight.
I tip my hat to you, New Orleans Saints.
My hat is a green and gold trucker's hat, tipped to the side. We keep it gangsta in the motherland of Wisconsin, ya know.
One thing I was thinking while driving to work yesterday (besides "How can it possibly be Monday already?! Did Manpig slip me something in my coffee on Saturday morning? Should I get a blood screen done?") was how my other genetic half (aka Dad) and I seem to have more common ground during football season.
Dad called on Sunday morning, all pumped up for the Vikings game.
Yes, you read that correctly. Dad is a die hard fan of the Minnesota Vikings. My dirty secret is revealed.
Basically, Dad and I have a standing arrangement for football season. He says he loves the Vikings, even when I try to convince him otherwise, and I am a fan of the Packers.
This means that at least two weeks out of the football season, we are incommunicado. No "Hey, how's your car running?" conversations. No "Are you coming out on Sunday?" inquiries. We just maintain radio silence.
Until the Packers win.
Then, I am burning up the phone lines, pudgy little Norwegian fingers dialing his digits with wild, glee-filled abandon!
Only, just to mess with my happiness, I get the answering machine.
I know my dad. He loves being home and sometimes even refuses to leave without a threat of death or dismemberment.
I know he's there, I can almost hear him breathing...
And, if he's really good and ticked off at the Vikings, I will get the answering machine for about a week.
It was much easier to call and torment him prior to caller ID.
So, this line of thinking lead me to this article.
When you have a loved one who is a fan of a team that loses to the Green Bay Packers, what do you say to them?
Do you offer them words of encouragement like, "Your team didn't suck too bad" or "They knew where the field was, after all!"? Or do you, like me, call them just to pour salt in their wounds?
I'm banking on the fact that you are somewhat like me. Here is a breakdown of fun things to say to the non-Packer fans in your life.
We Are Family
When looking at the NFC North, and especially during the preseason, my dad was greatly impressed with the Detroit Lions.
Since you know where both of our allegiances lie, I was somewhat shocked that we agreed that if they keep a healthy quarterback, the Lions could potentially be absolutely vicious this year.
With that in mind, the Chicago Bears gave the Atlanta Falcons a good ol' fashioned shellacking on Sunday.
The Vikings? Donovan McNabb had 39 passing yards this Sunday against the San Diego Chargers.
When you see the breakdown, compared to Aaron Rodgers' 312 yards, you can feel yourself start to do a little happy dance.
Your phone-dialing finger starts to twitch while a brilliant smile starts to creep across your face.
You dial the phone and your dad answers, as he feels that it is safe to pick up the phone since the Vikings didn't play the Packers. However, you have been raised in the Norwegian art of passive-aggressive subterfuge (thanks, Grandma Ethel!).
"So, yeah, Dad! What happened to your quarterback? Was he thinking about playing golf with Brett Favre, or what's going on here?"
"He had an off game. Donovan McNabb is going to take the Vikings to a Super Bowl."
"Oh? Is he driving them in the family truckster, like the Griswolds? A team is kind of like a family. I hear the Super Bowl is a nice family event. Do you think the Vikings can get tickets?"
Nothing on the other end.
This is not the only time your loved one will hang up on you during the football season, but the first time is always the sweetest.
I Don't Want to Compare, BUT...
I've found that when your loved one's team loses, it is important to sometimes offer encouragement and support.
Building a strong support system is one of the keys to maintaining mental health and well-being.
When you are a Minnesota Vikings fan, living in the hallowed borders of the great state of Wisconsin, you lack a strong support system. As a matter of fact, you catch a lot of flack and it makes you SO ANGRY.
FYI: Nobody looks vicious when they are wearing purple. That is why I chose purple for my wedding color when I finally made an honest man out of Manpig.
Comparing your loved one's team to something slightly less vicious sometimes helps ease his or her pain.
For example: "So, yeah, Dad, the Vikings didn't look too bad against the Chargers."
"No, they didn't."
"Well, I heard the Vikings were going to play against the Whitehall Powder Puff team at Homecoming! The Vegas odds-makers say the Vikings have a 100-1 shot of winning!"
Yeah, this usually leads to a few curse words. Make sure to protect your delicate ears from the profanity.
You May Take Our Leftovers...
This one is a gimme.
When Brett Favre went to the Vikings, my dad went on the Brett Favre bandwagon. Many a Vikings fan taunted Packers fans during that time. Kind of like little kids on the playground, you know?
"Want some ice cream?"
"Too bad. It's your favorite ice cream!"
It was painful to experience.
Now, when your loved one says things like, "We will get Clay Matthews in a few years" and your heart is filled with terror, initially, you can say: "Did you not learn your lesson with Brett Favre?"
That usually shuts 'em up.
Or, it leads your father to say fun things like, "You are never too old to be given up for adoption..."
While I have used the Minnesota Vikings as a handy reference during this article, feel free to use any team in the conversation examples that I have provided above!
And if some of you are saying, "Gee, Jack, you're kind of mean..." This is football, my friend. Don't think that my Dad is any nicer when, and if, the Packers lose.