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Posted at 5:55 PM ET, 11/26/2010

Political Football: For Kleinsasser and chocolate ice cream

By Sen. Al Franken

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken finds reasons to continue cheering for the Vikings during this dismal season.

The other day an old high school friend asked me what I've been doing with my leisure time. I told him that I enjoy watching my Vikings. We laughed sardonically. Bitterly, to be honest. If it's possible, this fall has been worse for Vikings fans than for Democrats.

There's very little point in going through the whole saga. If you're a football fan, you probably know it. Here are some key words and phrases: So close last year. Favre. Interceptions. Alleged sexting. Moss. Childress. Every week gets worse. More interceptions. Packers, 31-3. 3-7. Crappy.

My son, who follows the Vikings obsessively, told me after the Bears loss two weeks ago that he's decided to stop watching so he can "move on with my life." Even so, he couldn't help himself and watched the first three quarters of our 31-3 loss to the Packers.

I am not a fair weather fan and will be at FedEx Field Sunday cheering on the Vikes. For Adrian Peterson, who is so beautiful to watch. For underrated linebacker Chad Greenway, who I love to watch even after he told me when I visited training camp that he's a Republican. For Jim Kleinsasser, the fullback and tight end from the University of North Dakota who's been with the team for 12 years and is my favorite. Except maybe for Percy Harvin.

I often wonder if caring so much about sports franchises is just plain stupid. I like sports, but I don't wax philosophic about the power and grace of athleticism or find any real deep meaning in football or baseball. I just root like crazy for the Vikings and the Twins.

During the health care debate, Dr. Atul Gawande, a noted surgeon and academic, consistently wrote seminal pieces on the subject. One, on end-of-life care, put the "death panel" crowd to shame. In it, Gawande wrote of one patient with terminal cancer who told his doctor that life would be worth living as long as he could still eat chocolate ice cream and watch football on TV.

I completely understand.

By Sen. Al Franken  | November 26, 2010; 5:55 PM ET
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