Interacting with fans and hearing their stories is a part of my job that I truly enjoy. Fans come to vikings.com looking to read stories about their favorite team and favorite players, but sometimes the best stories come from the fans.
A great example of this comes from Meghan McCormick. She’s a Technical Director at ESPN, and she comes from a family of big Vikings fans. Meghan passed along the story of her family and her father to Bob Hagan, our Director of Public Relations here at the Vikings. The story needs no introduction, so I’m going to simply copy and paste the email Meghan sent to us in order to share the story with you…
When I was growing up, my father never read me a single nursery rhyme or children’s book. I was read the Viking Update instead. I knew the starting lineup by age 6, and I was surprised to learn in Kindergarten that the color I had long known as “Minnesota Viking” was actually called Purple. I even thought that the song we sang in school about the flying “Purple People Eater” was about the 1960s-70’s Vikings and not some one-eyed fictional monster. My dad raised me on the NFL and the Vikings, and it’s why I work at ESPN today. In all my experience in the sports industry, I have never met a fan like my father. A Connecticut resident, he has been a Vikings season ticket holder for 10 years. My parents’ office is riddled with memorabilia and is known as the “Viking Room”. In my 25 years of life, I can honestly say that I have never seen my father without a Vikings hat on his head (even when at the beach… and weddings—all to my mother’s embarrassment).
The reason I am telling you all of this is because five days ago (July 30) my dad was hit in a head-on collision. A woman was texting while driving and when she looked up she saw a car in her way and jerked into oncoming traffic… and to our horror, my father. When I got to the hospital on Saturday, he was attached to more machines than I would have ever liked to see, and had tubes and IV’s coming out in all directions. After dozens of X-Rays, MRI’s, and CAT Scans, the doctors found that he had a fractured knee cap and a fractured hip, and needed surgery immediately. While myself and the rest of my family in the Trauma Room began asking questions about the success rate of the surgery, his ability to walk in the future, etc., my father had a very different concern. The only thing he asked the doctor after being told he needed immediate hip surgery was: “Will my Viking tattoo on my thigh be ruined?” This blew me away! His biggest concern was about his Minnesota Vikings tattoo!
The surgeon said he would do his best, and whisked him away for 11½ hour surgery. When it was finally over and he woke up from anesthesia, the first thing he groggily asked us was to look at his scar and see if it ruined the Viking emblem tattooed on his leg. The first step in his recovery was realizing it was intact.
Then began the grueling rehab process that would surely be painful and exhausting. But, to him, the silver lining was that he would hopefully be able to walk again by mid-season, and therefore be able to make use of his Vikings season tickets that he just received in the mail days before the accident.
As a person in the sports media industry, I thought that this was an incredible story of pure fandom, and I thought it would be a great story to share with the Vikings and Vikings fans.
Meghan is right on; it is a great story to share with the Vikings and Vikings fans everywhere. Stories like these are a big part of what make fans so great. And there’s no doubt that fans are a big reason as to why the NFL and each of its individual teams produce such a great product, and are a source of enjoyment and entertainment.
The update on Meghan’s father is that he’s on the road to recovery, and, best of all, made enough progress recently to persuade his doctors into permitting him to travel to Minnesota to see a Vikings game. In what I believe is real-life poetry, Meghan’s father made it to the Vikings vs. Packers game on October 23 to see Christian Ponder’s first career start. In what was a huge step to a great future for the McCormick family, Meghan’s dad was able to travel to Minnesota to get a first-hand look at what the future holds for the Vikings at quarterback.
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