To say “there are no words” is purely the most honesty I can give to last night’s Vikings game. Throughout my life, I’ve experienced a state of shock in the past. However it has now been 19 hours and some minutes since Case Keenum connected with Stefon Diggs, on what looked to be a Cirque-Du-Soleil-Holy-Shit-Kim-Zmeskal-Acrobatic Catch, and my respiratory system is still trying to get back to one.
Sitting in a room full of Viking lifers, I found myself again somewhat torn. I was born in New Orleans, my mother lived across the street from Archie Manning, I paid witness to the grocery bags worn on the heads of Saints fans for over a decade… alas, in the end, we’ve had our day in the sun. 2010 provided a game-thieving crew of refs that put victory into the hands of WhoDat Nation, and firmly placed the Saints into the light as a team of destiny. I have no qualms with the way the game went down. The Saints went on to make the playoffs count, by winning the Super Bowl. After a lifetime of not winning, it was satisfying to watch them win the whole damn thing.
There are some moments that are meant for others, and the Saints have had that moment. Rationalizing all of this in the flash of a million neurons firing sporadically as firecrackers in a camp fire, I put to rest that there would be any joy in my system to watch the Saints beat the Vikings. My heart beat as if a kettlebell had been surgically attached to my solar plexus, and now with the rationalization, I turned my focus to breathing instead of my thought pattern.
Every moment in the final seconds of that game produced more and more negative thoughts and cyclical thinking than I thought I could originally produce. The terror of losing in a last-minute circumstance by blowing a 17-point lead going into the 2nd half, just seemed to be too heavy for any one person (let alone an entire fanbase) to bear. I thought, surely, I’d collapse to stillness if the Vikings lost, my blood pressure would spike, and boom- cardiac arrest.
As Keenum stepped back, I feared two things: 1. The right side of the offensive line would collapse, once again leaving Keenum sacked, or 2. Keenum would, again, launch a wily 45-degree floater for the Saints secondary to pick out of the sky. The fear reverberated through my chest, forcing me to stand just to be able to catch my breath.
When Stefon Diggs made the actual catch, my brain accepted that we’re most likely going to get a shot at a field goal, hence still no promise of a victory just yet- just as it had been throughout the entire damn game. The action of Diggs figure skating the sideline with ninja-like agility and balance put me 100% purely out of my mind and into a holy-shit-this-is-happening moment.
What proceeds from there is what I can only describe as euphoria. There is nothing else outside of you that matters and nothing in the past or future that matters. Solely the present moment is the only thing you’re breathing and feeling.
The room erupts into joyous screaming. I want to say shouting or yelling, but due to the volume and sheer pitch of it, it was definitely more screaming than anything. And then the hugs. We hugged as if we’d almost died and then didn’t. The oxytocin between all of us in that room must’ve surged higher than any golden retriever who has just freshly spotted a tennis ball. We hugged. We hugged hard.
Once the chapter of physically embracing one another turned, then came the tears. From ’98, to ’10, to the Blair Walsh kick to losing so damn much, it was all wiped clean away into a scrap heap weighing far less than this win. All the bad together cannot outweigh last night’s win.
I thought it so odd to be crying, that I withheld what tears I could. And then the reality weighs in again, you feel it deeper than you had originally because you’re just now beginning to accept what the hell just happened. Being only human, several tears escape. I didn’t even notice. I was just all of a sudden wiping my eyes. The overwhelm in a moment like that will put any human into a state of uncontrollable manic.
In the end, it’s best when shared with friends and loved ones. It’s always best like that. And if you found yourself with tears escaping after last night’s Vikings’ victory, you sure as shit weren’t alone.