The folks at Flicker Flacker films were kind enough to send me a preview screener of “A Fan for All Seasons.” In just a shade over an hour, this enjoyable film from Emmy winner Aaron Lubarsky documents Minnesota Vikings diehard fans over the course of the ’05-06 season. To refresh your memory, this was last year Culpepper was the Vikings’ QB and also the year of the Love Boat scandal. (I have to say, that alone brought back some fantastic memories.)
“Please, please, please let the Vikings win,” is the first line of the film, spoken by guy with the most camera time, Jesse. We see him glued to his chair in the basement, intense on the game while his family is elsewhere – they know not to bother him gameday. This scenario may sound familiar to many sports fans, but what separates Jesse (and the other subjects of the films) is that his entire life seems to revolve around the Vikings. Whether he’s traveling eight hours to see his team lose, backing up on the highway to retrieve a flag or as the co-host of his weekly Vikings cable access show, “Testosterone Live,” Jesse’s finger is more than just on the pulse of the team; I’m pretty sure he actually bleeds purple.
The film also follows the stories of other fans, whose life experiences along the way brought them closer to the Vikings. One of these is Vikings’ macot Ragnar, who claims to be the “only human mascot.” Ragnar, who is actually an Assistant Dean of Students and a recovering addict, tells his students not to lie to him or else (re: picture of him on the wall as wild, intense mascot persona at the Dome) and he even tries to counsel fans before a game he believes may have a drinking problem.
In what can only be described as the Super Bowl of their season, the Vikings play the Packers in week seven. Before the game, we get some perspective of the gravity of the rivalry and to further intensify things, the 1-4 Vikings’ season is on the line. Throughout the game, the film cuts between various fans and you get the feeling that this one game means more than anyone could ever know. Their desperation becomes so palpable that I actually found myself rooting for them – not because I want to the Vikings to win, but I somehow wanted their dedication as fans rewarded. And then it happens – the Vikings win 23-20. The reaction thereafter lies somewhere between exuberance and enlightenment. In an outpouring of emotion, there are tears of joy around and families finally come together unlike anything we’ve seen or expect until this point.
But if that game brought out the best in these fans, there are several points where the worst comes out as well – mostly by Jesse (who stereotypes Packer fans as toothless, backwoods rednecks). The irony is that he is the only person in the film who comes across as small-minded. With an accent straight out of the movie Fargo, he seems more than happy to share his bigoted perspectives on life. Like how he quit pursuing becoming a pastor because you couldn’t drink on Sundays, or equating those who don’t like sports to homosexuals, or even contemplating missing the birth of his child to attend draft day. But this is part of the package that can come with an obsessed fan, and part of the total picture Lubarsky paints for us. Sure, diehard fans may be obnoxious, crazy and irrational at times, but chances are your team has them, too.
To learn more or to purchase the film, visit their website.
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