ANGRY WARD WEDNESDAY: DOES LOVE FADE?

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NEW YORK, NY — As I watched my all-time favorite team, the Minnesota Vikings, move to 8-1 this past Sunday a thought occurred to me: Why am I not really excited about this? I mean, I’m happy they’re doing so well, but I’m not near as jacked up as I used to be about the fortunes of the Vikes. Is it that, as a Minnesota fan, I am always prepared for the inevitable failure? Sure I am, but that’s not it. Is it because Brett Favre, a once hated competitor, is largely responsible for this success? Eh, I don’t think so. What I finally concluded is that it’s really just me. I still am a big fan of the Vikings but I am nowhere near the rabid Purple People Eater junkie that I once was. What happened?

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The Purple People Eaters

I think what it comes down to is this: Maybe love fades. It’s sad but true. You’ve seen it in everything from marriages to the relationships some folks have with their automobiles. One day you’re hot for each other and the next…. pffffft…. not so much. A perfect example of this phenomena are the crushes you have as a kid—both the real and the unattainable kind. Take Cheryl Tiegs for instance. I can remember the first time she hit my radar screen many, many Februaries ago. It was on the cover of the first Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue I got my grubby little mitts on. Wowza!

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“Hey Dad, can we go to Cancun next vacation?”

My first thought was, “Where have you been all my life Cheryl?” This was immediately followed by, “Where can I take you so that we’re away from prying eyes?” It went like that for a few more years. When February rolled around my mind would race, creating images in my head of what state of undress Cheryl would be in that year. It was Valentine’s Day 365 days a year between us until the day that Christie Brinkley showed up in my mailbox.

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“Cheryl who?”

From then on, Cheryl was a fleeting afterthought. Then a couple of years later it was Christie who was on the scrap heap in favor of Kathy Ireland.

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Kathy Ireland shows great form even when she’s not in a swimsuit. The Mets should add this photo to their Dodger shrine at Citi Field next year.

It went on like this for a while with names like Porizkova, Macpherson, and countless other heavenly bodies filling the void. Then, one day, out of nowhere, none of it mattered anymore. There were real women to chase and far better places to garner prurient material. Of course both required a considerably greater effort. In any event, my point is that this fascination with the SI swimsuit beauties, which once burned with the intensity of 1,000 suns, now carries about as much wattage as a bic lighter. Don’t get me wrong, the interest is still there but I just don’t get as wound up about it as I used to. Which brings us back to sports.

I’m starting to feel that if the Vikings ever win a Super Bowl (insert your laughter here) it’s just not going to be near the same as if they had won it at the height of my fanaticism, and that’s kind of a shame. Back in the 70s and 80s, I lived and died with this team but now I feel like I simply “follow” them. I don’t know if it’s that I am getting older or whether the love has truly faded over the years. The same feeling hit me while watching the Yankees win the series this year. I used to scream bloody murder as teams fell to the Bombers in the playoffs and the Fall Classic. This year it really didn’t bother me all that much. Sure, I wanted them to lose, but it just didn’t eat me up like it had in the past. What happened to the hate in this case?

It leaves me to wonder if I’ll ever get as crazy over the Mets again as I did when Doc Gooden was striking out everything in sight in 1985 or when Bobby V. led one of the most rag-tag teams ever to the 2000 series. I certainly hope so. It remains to be seen. I guess as the NFL playoffs draw closer, we’ll see if any of those old feelings come rushing back. As for now, if the thrill really is gone, where’s a guy to turn? Hmm, I wonder what Cheryl and Christie are up to?

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Wednesday: Angry Ward, who has admirers at the NY Times, is the quintessential angry sports fan but one exception... he's flat-out funny. And the angrier he gets, the more amusing his work becomes. Psychiatrists say, "Angry Ward's 'anger' is a direct result of "Bronx/Mets syndrome: growing up in the Bronx as a Mets fan." As if that weren't enough, his Minnesota North Stars abandoned him for Dallas, forcing him to embrace The Wild the way conservatives embrace Mitt Romney. While the Vikings tease him incessantly with flirtations of success, the Golden State Warriors, "Don't have a enough short, white angry guys but I don't dislike them... that much." A-Dubya is MTM's longest-tenured indentured servant, its Larry David and quite simply, The Franchise.

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