Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Damn Vikings: Proudly podunk; why Canada doesn't need the NFL

A good Minnesota Vikings fan knows about crazy coincidences, so this could not have happened by accident.

On Monday, Edward Greenspan, the Toronto lawyer, wrote a rather whingey op-ed about how he was a "bit angry" over the Bills in Toronto fiasco, saying it made the city and country look "podunk." Fair enough, but he also took a swipe at the Vikings' home base, one of the few cities with teams in all three major sports as well as the NHL, saying "no one would mistake Minneapolis for a truly world class city."

Well, that very night, the new How I Met Your Mother involved the sitcom's Canadian character, Robin Scherbatsky, getting turfed from a bar full of Vikings fans from Minnesota -- complete with a Gary Anderson reference (10 years next month; it's a pain that never ends). It also included some wise words for all the poseurs up here who think the city needs the NFL for some sort of self-validation. It all starts about a minute into the clip.

(Now, can anyone explain the significance of Jason Segel's character wearing a No. 70 Vikings jersey?)

For those of you who don't have time to watch the clip, here's the money quote to share with Greenspan, Rogers vice-president Phil Lind and the whole lot of them:
"I'm proud to be Canadian. We may not have a fancy NFL team, or Prince, but we invented Trivial Pursuit -- you're welcome, Earth. Plus, in Canada, you can go to an all-nude strip club and order alcohol. That's right. From Moose Jaw to the Bay of Fundy, you can suck down a 20-ounce Pilsner while watching some coal miner's daughter strip down to her pelt. Jealous? In Canada, people don't care where you're from. As long as you're friendly and loan them a smoke or hand them a donut. I'm proud to be Canadian. I wish I was there right now."
Don't get hung up on the facts that it's tough to find a coal miner anywhere these days or that you actually can't drink alcohol at a strip club in Saskatchewan (as confirmed by a Sasky expat). No doubt that Greenspan and his friends, who live in a different world where people have underlings to order around and own cottages and own more than one suit, would just see this as something from the idiot box. They wouldn't get the connection. Too freakin' bad. They probably didn't even notice Marshall Eriksen (Segel's character) was wearing No. 70 and why that is significant in Vikings lore.

Regardless, there's a lesson in there. We could stand to improve many things about ourselves in Canada, especially when it comes to how we support sports, but through Robin (played by Cobie Smulders, a Vancouver girl), something like the truth has been revealed. We don't need a fancy NFL team (and the Buffalo, soon to be Toronto, Bills are only fancy with how they contrive to blow games in the final minutes). It's a pretty good country even if we don't steal Buffalo's NFL team, even though we're probably going to, eventually.

No disrespect to Greenspan, who can buy and sell yours truly several times over before lunch, but his whole notion that you have to have four major pro teams to be a world-class city is just bumph. San Francisco only has baseball and football, and both its teams stink, but people still visit it in droves. Seattle is still great even its post-Sonics, pre-Sounders landscape. Friends speak well of Omaha, Nebraska, which doesn't have anything bigger than a Triple-A baseball team.

Happiness can be had without having four teams or worrying what people are thinking about you. It's not how much it takes to make you happy, it's how little. Anyone who can't get that through his head is beyond saving.

And how this relates to the Vikings' tortured history

It's acknowledged that it tempts fate to reference Gary Anderson and the Almost Perfect season four days before a Falcons-Vikings game. However, enough time has passed to at least start making jokes about it. Besides, anyone who has adopted the same interpretation of karma as Jared Allen probably isn't worried.

Weird little reminders of that kick keep popping up. For instance, in that same year, 1999, the Queen's Golden Gaels' season ended with a loss to McGill by a near-identical score, 30-28. McGill's kicker, Anand Pillai, unlike Gary Anderson nine months earlier, had a perfect day, 5-for-5 on field goals.

And who is now the kicker for McGill? Austin Anderson, Gary Anderson's son. You could look it up.

(Clip via Randball.

Oh, and here's the significance of Marshall Eriksen's No. 70 jersey:)


Sportsdump said...

AMEN! (except for the buying you several times over before lunch part)

Duane Rollins said...

We have five great sports teams in this city already (six if you like lacrosse). If I want to go to a NFL game, I can drive 2-hours south.

But, although it isn't really our M.O. here, you must admit there there is something, something about a beautiful woman in a football jersey...