Purple Punishment: Turkey with a side of Pessimism

The holidays are that special time of year when we gather with family, share a meal and celebrate.

That is unless and you are a family of Vikings fans.

For Vikings fans, holidays in 2016 have proven to be a challenge.  This year’s Halloween wasn’t about the candy, and Thanksgiving won’t be about the turkey.  Increasingly these special days aren’t focused on festivities at all but instead center on gathering around a television and eagerly awaiting a metaphorical gut punch.

Each holiday marks the chance for an inevitable Vikes loss in a new and surprising way.  What’s worse is that Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day aren’t shaping up any better.

All of this because in his infinite wisdom, Super Grinch Roger Goodell decided to taint every holiday this year by scheduling a Viking game.


Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day –all tainted.   Even the fake holidays are not spared as this week we fire up the purple jalopy on (appropriately enough) National Absurdity Day.

Now for a normal team, a holiday fail wouldn’t be a big deal.  So they lose, so what?  Lions fans have endured turkey day butt-kickings and public ridicule for years.  Yet for the Purple Faithful it is different because for Vikes fans losing isn’t an event, it is a way of life.

Don’t get me wrong, it is a great fan base, but one with a distinct and raging case of PTSD.  Therefore even when winning, every discussion of the purple always comes with a side of fatalism and dread.  We spend our lives waiting for the other shoe to drop and this mindset robs us of enjoying the moment and the journey.

Waiting for a death spiral of defeat is really no way to live.

It reminds me of a video I saw recently.  The video asks a simple question– are you a thermostat or a thermometer?  

In the video Tony Dungy protégé Mark Merrill asks this question in regards to our family life and explains it succinctly.  You see a thermometer reflects the situation around them. If kids are disobedient or a spouse may have had a tough day a thermometer absorbs this and reflects it back on the family.   Like a Vikes fan entering a death spiral when things begin to turn sour.

On the flipside a thermostat regulates moods by remaining calm, changing the climate and working to make the home a desirable place to live.  Like Coach Dungy himself, they exude optimism, positivity and calm.

Fairly profound and remarkable to me as I think about my own family.  Despite my best efforts, occasionally I find myself in the role of thermometer.  I  let circumstances (being late, unprepared or over-scheduled) dictate my reaction.  The result can lead to escalation and raised voices.

The lesson for me is to recognize when this happens and in the moment moderate my mood to help others moderate theirs.  As a husband and father this will create a positive atmosphere that leads to better outcomes for all.

This approach may even be valuable for Vikings fans this Thanksgiving, helping them to manage their emotions, live in the moment and remain optimistic—even as that kick inevitably sails wide right.

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Christian. Father. Hawkeye. Male pattern baldness survivor.

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