One thing I love about England is the holidays. I get 23 days paid vacation from my work and a further 7 odd days which are national Bank Holidays so I have it pretty sweet. This weekend is 4 days long thanks to Easter and Mr G, so I’m up North enjoying Steak and Ale Pie. As a result I’m off the news, so here’s the last in my series of top moments… enjoy.
Looking back at my list you may wonder how anything else that happened last season could top what I’ve already posted about. The 49ers game, the Cowboys game, Pant on the fricking Ground… what’s better than that? Well the answer actually lies in the title of the series, MY top 10. And for me, the greatest moment of last season was my first ever visit to the Metrodome to see the Vikings!
At the start of last year, my then girlfriend (now fiancee) and I said we wanted to go to Minneapolis to see the Vikings, and we’d coinside it with out bi-annual trip across the pond to see her family. We figured that too late in the season and it could be tricky to get tickets, and likewise at the start especially when we found out that Favre had signed. As a result we ended up on the phone with a ticket sales rep and bought 4 VIP (the only ones available at the time) tickets for the Week 6 matchup against my former favourite team, the Baltimore Ravens.
So there we were all of a sudden, at the Metrodome at 9am, I was getting my sodding face painted! The atmosphere was like nothing I’ve ever experienced at a sporting event before. From there we wandered around the outside of the stadium, before going for the VIP brunch (which was Halloween themed), and finally we made our way to our seats. That walk out of the concourse and into the stadium was breathtaking. The Metrodome may be old and it may be ugly, but it still took my breath away. I was finally in Minnesota, I was finally getting to see the Vikings.
We were sat on the last row of the lower section right in the corner, the view was spectacular, so out came the camera and I began snapping, in fact I took nearly 400 pictures during before and after the game.
The game was amazing. We stormed ahead thanks to early touchdowns from the Shank and Berrian. It was so awesome to see the team play live, watching every last detail on the field, audiuble being called, gaps opening up for the runs, all the crazy antics when nothing was happening on the field, I was like a pig in shit, I loved every minute of it…
Except perhaps when, all of a sudden, despite dominating the game, the Ravens were ahead by 4. Quite how I don’t know but the Ravens suddenly grew a pair and were able to both run and pass on us and it paid off. We needed another Minneapolis Miracle, and as it happened, we got one.
The final Vikings drive was made when Favre, much like he did against the 9ers, rolled out to his right, scrambled past a tackle and heaved the ball forward. This time it was Sidney Rice who caught it, despite being interfered. That resulted in a field goal, putting us 2 ahead. All we needed to do was hold the Ravens on their final drive.
Sadly however we couldn’t. They got the ball into field goal range and we just let them get up there it seemed. No timeouts to try and get the ball back, nothing, and so with 2 seconds left, Steven Hautskishahakaka stepped up to kick for the win. The noise began to grow, and then we called a timeout to ice him… He stepped up again, and the noise rose once more. At first I couldn’t even watch, but then I thought that I was not going to be coming back for at least a couple of years, so I’d better watch, get behind the team and holler like I’ve never hollered before. My throat was screaming, my chest was screaming, every part of me was screaming for that kick to be missed. Suddenly it was up in the air and everything went quiet. We were on the other side of the field and could see where the ball was… Then, the other end of the field went crazy, and so we did. They’d missed it. We’d won!
It was an amazing feeling! It was an amazing day. We left the stadium on a cloud of pure joy. The sun was out, we went for a giant steak dinner, and a banana split the size of my head, and I couldn’t stop smiling. I will never forget this game as long as I live. The people I met, the songs I sang, the atmosphere, the smell, everything was just perfect. The two people who I was sat next two told me they’d been coming to every game for the last 40 years, they were garbed head to toe in purple, with sparkly flashy plastic jewelry, and we’re loving every minute of the game just as much as I was. It showed me just how special the Vikings are as a team, and the special link they have with their supporters. It showed me that I am truly a Vikings’ fan, and will forever be one.
And so that was my #1 moment of 2009, and somehow it may well be one of the greatest moments of my life as a member of the Purple Faithful (until we win the Super Bowl…)