Parents' dilemma: raise son as Packers or Vikings fan?Area News
-- Brady Johnson e-mailed his predicament about how to raise his son to the online version of Sports Illustrated -- and got more attention than he could imagine.
By: Randy Hanson , Pierce County Herald
Brady Johnson e-mailed his predicament about how to raise his son to the online version of Sports Illustrated -- and got more attention than he could imagine.
Johnson’s problem is that he’s a “life-long, die-hard” Vikings fan, and his wife, Emily, is a native of Green Bay and a devoted Packer backer.
“I’m facing a giant dilemma,” Johnson explained to Sports Illustrated. “My wife and her parents are huge Packers fans, season-ticket holders, and even have a Packers-themed bathroom. Yes, truly.”
His question for the online readers’ poll was: “Do I, as a father, let my son go that route without a fight? Or do I push him in the direction of the Minnesota (L.A.?) Vikings, knowing full well it means a life of heartache?”
“Maybe a girl would have been easier,” he added.
The Johnsons’ nine-month-old boy, Desmond, was born early this year, “just in time to see the Packers win the Super Bowl,” Johnson said.
His problem was presented under the heading, “Help this guy out.” Readers were asked whether he should let Desmond become a Packers fan or fight for his son to be a Vikings fan.
SportsIllustrated.com posted the poll last Wednesday, in advance of Sunday’s Packers-Vikings showdown. As of Thursday morning, more than 13,000 votes had been cast, with support for the Vikings leading the Packers, 55 percent to 45 percent.
Johnson informed the Star-Observer about the poll, and a link to it was posted on www.hudsonstarobserver.com.
Then WCCO-TV (channel 4) came across the poll and interviewed the Johnsons for a report that aired on the station’s 10 p.m. Saturday newscast.
WCCO reporter Rachel Slavik offered to come to Hudson for the interview, but it didn’t fit Emily’s work schedule, so they went to the TV studio in downtown Minneapolis for the taping.
Radio stations WCCO and 93X also discussed the Johnsons’ struggle on their morning programs.
As of Tuesday morning, Oct. 25, nearly 18,000 people had responded to the Sports Illustrated poll, with support for Brady raising Desmond as a Vikings fan continuing to lead, but by a slightly smaller margin of 54 percent to 46 percent.
“The reaction has been great. We are surprised by it all, but I think this is something that a lot of couples can relate to,” Johnson said.
Indeed, many of the commenters on the Sports Illustrated website took it as a very serious subject.
“This is one of the most important relationship bridges between a father and a son. You are the Vikings fan. Your son needs to understand that he automatically is a Vikings fan,” wrote a commenter named Jeremy. “…You and your son have an opportunity to share a love and passion for your team that can span the rest of your lives. If someday he’s living in another city, or even state, you can have that bond every Sunday; even if it is just to console one another for another 41-0 defeat in the NFC Championship game to my Giants.”
RP had a different opinion.
“Don’t force the kid. The more you force your passions on a kid, the more they will rebel against you when they hit their teens,” he wrote.
The Johnsons have agreed to let the poll results decide the football allegiance of Desmond -- to the extent they can influence it. They’ve set a deadline of midnight on Halloween for the voting. A link to the Sports Illustrated poll can be found on www.hudsonstarobserver.com.
Brady said Emily’s family and some of his own family members have started an e-mail campaign to swing the vote to the Packers.
He’s gratified that he and the Vikings are maintaining the lead.
Johnson is a Hudson native and local 2003 high school graduate. One of his fondest memories from boyhood is accompanying his father to the Vikings’ training camp at Mankato. Brady’s parents, Guy (pronounced the French way – ge) and Cary Johnson, live just a few blocks away from the Johnsons’ house on 12th Street So.
Emily, on the other hand, grew up 10 miles from Lambeau Field. She took drum lessons from the man who leads the “Go Pack Go” chants at Packers home games.
Brady, 26, and Emily, 25, met at UW-Eau Claire. They both graduated from the university with degrees in social work.
He works as a residential instructor at a Twin Cities group home for developmentally disabled adults. She is a Ramsey County, Minn., social worker and is studying for her master’s degree in social work.
They say their fan rivalry is real, but they won’t let it cause any trouble in their marriage.
The solution, Brady said, might be having another son. Emily just smiled.