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Purple pride lost on eye-opening experiences

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I recently discovered -- beyond even an inkling of a shadow of a glimmer of a sliver of a doubt -- that there is something out there bigger than me -- bigger than you! Bigger even than me on your shoulders.

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And that, dear reader, is the Metrodome.

My parents and Montana and I were ridiculously fortunate (insert subtle eye roll here) to be present at the Vikings-Falcons game of two Sundays ago. Bizarrely enough, it was an eye-opening experience.

By eye-opening, I don't merely mean that I was awed at having stayed awake through the entire three hours, but that I gleaned a great many vital snippets of information from the event. The big game taught me just as much as any AP class ever has, if not a great deal more.

Right from the starting line, I discovered that security will indeed allow knitting needles to be brought into the Metrodome. I'll pause briefly while you file that one away for future reference.

Got it? Fantastic.

Shortly afterwards, I discovered that very few situations can make one feel smaller than a stadium full of purple people simultaneously standing up, you in their midst, startled to realize you haven't understood anything that's happened since kick-off, which your little brother talked you through. ("Who punts the ball, Tana?" "...The punter, Thressa." Who knew? I mean besides every other person in attendance at the sold-out game.

Also, did you know that the Vikings have a full-fledged theme song?! In all seriousness, I solemnly attest to the fact that every Vikings fan in the Minneapolis area that fateful day subscribed to impeccably-choreographed mental inclinations; the "uhhh!"s and "whoo!"s and anticipatory silences were immaculate. Group grunt! Group gasp! Kudos to that, guys. I am in awe.

Watching the cheerleaders led me to pondering: if one isn't going to bother covering her midriff, are full-length sleeves really necessary? Might pants not be a logical choice? I thought of days when showing shoulders was considered inappropriate, and came to conclude that the sleeves lend modesty to the overall outfit. (Personally, I felt I was dressed suitably in my white button-down shirt and vibrant Vikings necktie.)

Meanwhile, I lamented the realization that the stomp-stomp-claps always end before one can get through the entire first verse of "We will Rock You." I then noted that I was the only one of the 62,000 people there who was inherently upset by this.

Ultimately, I discovered that sports fans are indeed an intriguing breed. While I would have been entirely content to stay in the hotel room and watch the Sharks and the Jets rumble over on the West Side, instead of a bunch of dudes in 80s-to-the-umpteenth-power shoulder pads, it wasn't an awful experience.

(However, if you thought I was referencing athletics just now, then you need to turn of the game and get some theater tickets. Hey, if I can spend three hours -- three hours! -- in the Metrodome, then you can sit through West Side Story, 'ya big jock.)

Conversation at a football game apparently need not be sports-minded, but it also need not be impressively intellectual. Case in point: discussing the precise age when bar-hopping with Jennie becomes fun is entirely acceptable, as I learned from the very intriguing father and son sitting behind me. Thanks, guys, I shall certainly keep that in mind.

Prior to this excursion, I actually already knew that wearing a Green Bay jersey to a Vikings game was a big uh-uh, but that fact was reiterated, as was the ridiculous pricing of the snacks and beverages being sold. I promise you, reader, I heard one of the vendor chicks yell, "Overpriced beer!" through the stands...although perhaps the iPod I used to keep my sanity only made it sound that way to me.

Note to self: music and a good novel make every plausibly-unpleasant event not only tolerable, but on the verge of enjoyable.

Finally, I discovered that I will probably never play professional football (perhaps I should have known that beforehand, also). Still...I couldn't help but imagine the disembodied announcer-voice calling MY name as I ran out of a blow-up Vikings ship dressed as an eggplant...sigh. The pay would probably be slightly better than that of whoever's job it is to place programs on every seat in the Metrodome, which I may be more suited to.

Otherwise, the game was more or less exactly like watching Montana play Madden on his Playstation. Except I wasn't in my living room.

Oh, I'd like to quickly thank the two big burly men who picked me up off the ice approximately three steps beyond the Metrodome's doors while others unceremoniously stepped over my bruised and clumsy body. Especially the one who muttered, "We'll take care of you, this ain't no Wal-Mart."

What a game.

Thressa Johnson is a senior at Detroit Lakes High School.

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