Dear Brett Favre,
I hear athletes subscribe to “bulletin board” clippings for motivation. I hope this helps.
In the spring, I was walking with a friend down the Nicollet Mall. It was after midnight, the bars were hopping, but the street was empty save for my friend and I and a lone figure walking towards us.
He was about 6-2, lanky, African-American, could’ve been a former ballplayer or one of your new wide receivers. Spring was in the air, I was feeling good, and the “Will he or won’t he?” stories about you were ramping up. I stopped in my tracks, greeted the stranger and said, “So what do you think of all this Favre business?”
I’ve posed the same question to friends over the past week. You’d be surprised how many people don’t know you, or don’t follow football or professional sports. Which is refreshing and funny, but I was happy when the stranger also stopped in his tracks, seized the night, and started bantering.
“Vikings win the Super Bowl with Favre, no doubt about it.”
I wanted to agree with him, but that would have been dull and the moment demanded more. I told him he was crazy, and for the next few minutes we engaged in the sort of back-and-forth trash-talking that has been the lifeblood of the sports fan for eons; the sort of play-acted debate about the ubertrivial that bonds family member with family member, generation with generation, stranger with stranger.
I made a suggestion: “Let’s make a deal. If the Vikings win the Super Bowl, you and I meet at the Mary Tyler Moore statue at midnight that night and we celebrate,” I said, pointing at the giddy bronze icon across the street.
“It’s on,” we said.
We clasped hands and went our separate ways.
I was reminded of my man Friday night-Saturday morning as I walked down the Mall after a set of St. Dominic’s Trio at Kieran’s, where post-Vikings game fans turned the place into a trippy little slice of you had to be there. A guy in a Jared Allen jersey took over the dance floor (and later the stage), and a striking blonde couple wearing purple “Favre” and “Peterson” jerseys danced suggestively and in synch, which made me think that if you and Adrien Peterson develop a similar chemistry, all will be very sexy in Purpleville.
After the gig, I walked back down the Mall and happened upon six tipsy young women having their portrait taken, arms akimbo and draped around Our Lady Of Who Can Turn The World On With Her Smile?
Now. In the coming months, much pressure will be heaped upon you. The hopes and dreams of an entire state rest on your torn right bicep. Which might sound overly-dramatic, but it’s true. In 1987 when the Twins won the World Series, much talk was made about Minnesota “finally getting the monkey off its back,” and atoning for losses like Hubert Humphrey’s failed presidential bid and the Vikings’ four cataclysmic Super Bowl losses.
I don’t know about any of that. All I know is that I’ve got a date with a stranger on the corner of 7th and Nicollet on Feb. 7, 2010, and anything you can do to make it happen would be much appreciated.