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Ahmad Rashad
October 25, 1982
Drudgery and tension marked the Vikings' preseason, and a strike loomed, but in the end the author had one redeeming moment
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October 25, 1982

'a Guy Can Get Hooked On Being A Hero'

Drudgery and tension marked the Vikings' preseason, and a strike loomed, but in the end the author had one redeeming moment

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TUESDAY, AUG. 24: A Ku Klux Klansman

I dropped by the Albatross last night, and there was an offensive teammate of mine at the bar. I said hello, and he mumbled to me and then he turned his back on me and kept it that way for the next 45 minutes. Now, yes, there was a girl—a rather large girl—on the other side and he was trying to talk to her, and also we've been teammates for a couple years and know we have very few things in common.

So today, half-kidding, I told another black player in a loud voice in the locker room to stay away from the guy from the bar because he was a Ku Klux Klansman. And the guy looked hurt, and said he hadn't meant it that way, which was nice, and now I want to forget about it. But I had to say something, Frank. If you let that sort of thing pass, it may start happening all the time, the way it did in St. Louis. That's one of those things that can pull a team apart.

Thought for today: The more organized and computerized the game becomes, the more difficult it is to be spontaneous out there. Tarkenton would actually solicit advice during a game, and if you told him you were open on something you could be sure he'd file that away and eventually call it. Hell, sometimes Fran would make up plays in the huddle, like on the sandlots. But nowadays the coaches really don't want any advice from players. It might contradict the computers. The watchword is: Everybody do his job—meaning players play and coaches choose the plays.

WEDNESDAY, AUG. 25: Two-a-days

Diane came down today and we had dinner with the Kramers over in St. Peter. Tommy's never going to have any more problems as long as he has Carrie.

My knees are really bugging me, and if I wasn't captain I'd beg off for a couple days. And would you believe it: We're still on two-a-days. Just my luck. When I was young and could go all day we had an old team that couldn't tolerate two-a-days. Now we're a young team that needs two-a-days and I'm too old for that foolishness.

Thought for today: Only one. We break camp on the day after tomorrow.

THURSDAY, AUG. 26: Positive reinforcement

I am driving Charlie Johnson up to Minneapolis when camp breaks. He's really excited being with a new team, and he's also looking forward to going to Denver, where we play Saturday, because he's never been there. It made me think that I can't remember the last time I was really turned on about a preseason game. By now there are only about six regular-season games a year I get excited about. Now understand: I don't mean I only get "up" for five or six. I'm a pro. I still get up for them all. I just don't get excited for very many.

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