Wednesday, February 2, 2011

football = love

I grew up in a catholic house. The other religion under our roof was the Minnesota Vikings. We went to mass every Sunday, out to lunch then settled in for football. If the Vikings played the early game we skipped the restaurant so we could be home for kick-off. There were plenty of times when I wasn't interested in watching football but if I pestered my parents or brothers during the game, my mom told me to give our dog a bath. I quickly learned to watch the game or play alone elsewhere.

My parents (and sometimes the kids) went to Minneapolis to see a Vikings game once a year. On those times when my parents escaped went alone, they would bring each of us a gift. The souvenirs that stand out in my memory are the caps. My parents saw the Vikings play the Packers...BIG rivals. They brought my brother a Vikings cap and gave me a Packers cap.
I cried myself to sleep that night.

Of all the things my parents could have done to me, this is what made me realize they didn't love me. IF they loved me, I would have received a Vikings cap, too, right? After all, my parents never cheered for the Packers...they cheered AGAINST them and now I was supposed to wear this cap in public? Seriously?
I pretended to lose the cap but my mom always found it for me. I would leave the house with it on my head then quickly take it off. I didn't even know any kids at school who cheered for the could I be seen in that cap?

After a time I used the memory of receiving the cap to my advantage. When my brother picked on me I needed to shed a tear quickly and get sympathy from my mom, I found my motivation in that Green Bay cap and remembered that I wasn't loved or wanted in the family--the tears came instantly. It always worked.

Years after college I told my parents how I learned I was unloved. They laughed and laughed and I explained further how my heart was broken as a child over a green/gold cap with the pom pom on top and they chuckled some more. Sigh... (Edited to add: I should have mentioned that my mom had no recollection of giving me a Packers cap and figured she probably bought different caps for us because my brother was a serious Vikings fan and I didn't care that much about football so it wouldn't matter what team I had. And she didn't think as siblings we would want the same cap! Go figure...)

So while I'm still a Vikings fan, this Sunday I'll be cheering for the Pack...cap or no cap.


  1. The part about the hat makes me a little sad :( were they out of Viking caps that day??? I would have been hurt, too! At least your Packers cap will come in handy now! Have fun Sunday!

  2. OH MY GOSH! That's a really sad and hilarious story! :)

  3. Hahahaha!!!!! That is hilarious!!!! I love that story. And it does sum up the rivalry quite nicely.

    Your household sounds much like mine. We went to mass every Sunday and then football afterwards too. As a matter of fact, that is how it is in my household now! HA! Hows that for tradition! ;)

    A Vikings fan cheering for the Packers. Well, I can not tell you enough how much I appreciate that. I think Packers/Vikings fans have a little in common now that we all suffered through some Favre drama. ;)

    Great Post!

  4. What!!??? We are all fortunate that you did not grow up to be a serial killer or completely and utterly insane after that emotional blow. Honestly! I am not even kidding. I'm kind of mad at your parents now.... That's messed up.

  5. YAY! Cheer hard for those Packers :) I think I would've cried too...but only if I received the Vikings hat.

    Go Pack Go!

  6. I can't believe they kept recovering the hat so you had to keep wearing it. You poor thing. But at least you can laugh about it now!

  7. So funny! I instantly knew that your mom was just getting you and your brother different gifts.

    Hope "your team" wins. I have no stake in the outcomee.

  8. haha. best story.

    I was a Vikings fan vicariously through my Dad and Bro. I even had a JACKET! Jealous??