By Jim Heffernan
To begin with, I am not a Vikings fan. I am not a Green Bay Packers fan. I am not a sports fan. Not that you should care.
But this business about Brett Favre (pronounced FARve, for reasons unknown to mortal man or, of course, woman) has got my attention. How could it not? It’s all over everything in the media. In the upper Midwest it threatens to eclipse the passion of Michael Jackson.
So yeah, as a non sports-page-reading, non TV-game-watching person, I am very well aware of the controversy surrounding Favre’s decision to quarterback the Minnesota Vikings this season, wearing No. 4, his fabled number when he was the idol of the Dairy State, playing for the Green Bay Packers for quite a few years (I wouldn’t know how many, not being a fan).
This switch to the Vikings, by way of the New York Jets, after “retiring” from the Packers, really seems to matter to many people on both sides of the St. Louis, St. Croix and Mississippi rivers. It’s like Jesus deciding to go with Satan.
Even some Vikings fans are upset about it. They seem to resent the fact that Favre held off in announcing he was coming back out of retirement in the state of Mississippi, where he lives, in order to avoid the dusty, hot playing fields of Mankato (Minnesota) where the Vikings gear up for the season.
Hailing from Mississippi (if not Mary), one might think Favre well knows what hot weather is like, but training camps must not be fun, what with a lineman’s actual death during a stifling drill at a Vikings Mankato camp a few years ago.
But I go on, when I probably shouldn’t, insulting Jesus, Satan and Mary along with Michael Jackson and that poor Viking who was stricken at training camp, not to mention the intelligence, where it can be found, of rabid Vikings fans to whom the team’s fortunes are the be all-end all, the alpha and omega, of human existence in the United States of America, as the politicians always put it, apparently assuming their listeners do not know, when they utter the words “United States,” that they mean those ones in America. You know, there are 50 of them.
So to my point: I subscribe to the Jerry Seinfeld theory of professional sports. He noted on Leno or Letterman (can’t recall which, but I was watching) a few years ago that those rooting for pro sports teams root for laundry. Some player fans worship changes jerseys and they hate him.
I guess that is being borne out in spades by Favre.
As for me (and why should you care?), I’m rooting for Favre to do well as a Viking, not that I’m likely to be watching if there’s a good old movie on TCM. I like it when old guys keep trying to do what they did when they were young, being one.