An open letter to Vikings brass

  • Article by: KURT BURCH and TEAGAN BURCH
  • Updated: November 14, 2012 - 6:40 PM

You want support? Then you're going to have to court a different crowd.

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I write to tell you that your team has likely lost a passionate fan.

My son and I attended the Vikings-Lions game on Sunday, but left halfway through the first quarter because many of the people around us were loud, obnoxious, purposefully rude and inconsiderate, foul-mouthed, and drinking heavily or already drunk. For example, they stood in front of us (the only people in the section standing at the time) although we asked them to sit. They did not sit.

Teagan Burch, my son, turned 10 on Oct. 17. With some birthday cash he received as gifts, he offered to buy his own ticket to the Lions game if I'd buy a ticket and accompany him. Attending the game was the birthday gift he wanted to give to himself. He saved his allowance and offered to do extra chores to earn money to buy a souvenir.

The decision to leave was his. He wanted to leave after about five minutes, but I suggested we wait until the end of the first quarter, because perhaps the other fans would settle down. We had an inkling that attending the game might not be pleasant when some of the people in front of us yelled discourteously during the national anthem ... the national anthem during Veterans Day ceremonies!

We bought our tickets on StubHub. We sat in Section 217, Row 25, seats 6 and 7.

We simply want you to know two things.

First, the game-day experience was a monumental disappointment. I suspect the few other families around us with small kids feel much the same way, including the family with a young daughter sitting immediately to our left.

Second, a passionate, devoted young fan was so painfully upset that he is willing to destroy or get rid of his Vikings memorabilia. He threw away his Vikings warrior helmet with braids. (I retrieved it.) This kind of fan is the future of the Vikings fan base. He and I attended family day at the Mankato camp. He wants to love and root for the Vikings. But at best we will likely do so from our living room from now on, and at worst he may shift his affections to college football or to the Wolves, Wild or Twins. As he looks over my shoulder now, he wants me to write "not the Vikings."

You know better how to run your business than I do. But perhaps there are changes to be made to ensure that young fans and families enjoy Vikings football as much as thoughtless 20-somethings who seem eager to be rude, crude and disdainful.

As we were leaving, we complained to a man in a black "events management" jacket who said he understood and apologized to us for the experience. Perhaps decisionmakers could ask him and his colleagues for suggestions.

Kurt Burch and Teagan Burch live in St. Paul.

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