Even for non-football fans, the agony of the Minnesota Vikings faithful was palpable yesterday and no one was isolated from the anguish. It was all around us.
This is part of the entertainment and social value of sports – big losses create a drive to make sense of suffering that ultimately leads rational people to the “it’s only a game” explanation. Irrational people, however, will continue to search for a reason to explain why their fondest wishes stubbornly refuse to come true.
This is where a curse comes in handy. The Chicago Cubs still have the Curse of the Billy Goat to fall back on when their team disappoints. The Boston Red Sox had a long run justifying their misery with the Curse of the Bambino. But if there is no curse, you have to make one up so the world can feel logical and orderly again.
All I know is this – Trail Baboon sing-song poet laureate Tyler Schuyler Wyler retreated to his garret immediately after Sunday’s game with a plate of hot wings that were picked totally clean by the time he emerged with his latest lame ditty:
When the team that you follow is hapless
and each year it appears to get worse,
you’ll feel lost like a traveler who’s map-less
’til you’ve found a believable curse.
A good curse can make sense of the losing.
With a curse there’s a way to explain
why the squandering squad of your choosing,
fails again and again and again.
“We were cursed by a player we traded.”
“There’s this powerful spell gypsies wrote.”
“It’s the vengeance of teams we berated.”
“We were hexed by a mystical goat.”
“There’s a burial mound in our end zone.”
“Once a shaman was carded for beer.”
“Voodoo dolls wear our uniforms – hand sewn!”
“Our team mascot insulted a seer.”
If the fans become flustered and frantic
and their trophy dreams ride in a hearse
the futility gets more romantic
When they’ve found a believable curse.
Have you ever been on either end of a curse?