Chris Kluwe (Tom Dahlin/Viking Update)
Vikings punter Chris Kluwe recalls the feeling of his youth about having a birthday on Christmas Eve. Plus, a look at Friday’s injury report.
In the kid year, there are two days that are of vital importance – Christmas (at least for those who celebrate it) and your birthday. Those two days are synonymous with eating good, having fun and getting presents.
They are separate but equal in the eyes of many kids. At Christmas (or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa), it means gifts from family and friends.
In many ways, kids are like dogs – they live in the moment. They tend to forget the past quickly and have no regard for the future. They live for today and in the world of kid-dom, there are no two greater days than Christmas and their birthday.
But, for kids like Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, fate deemed that those days would run consecutively. Of all the days possible for a kid to be born, Kluwe’s birthday was Dec. 24, just one day before Christmas.
He didn’t have the full-out birthday party that his siblings and friends had, but, fortunately for him, it wasn’t until much later that he figured out he was getting somewhat the short end of the stick when it came to getting presents.
“We celebrated my birthday as a family on the 24th,” Kluwe said. “What usually happened was that I got two small presents instead of one big present. I realize now that I was kind of getting screwed out of big presents for both my birthday and Christmas, but, at the time, I didn’t realize it. As a kid, I was more concerned with quantity than quality, so it wasn’t until later that I figured out the benefit to not having a birthday so close to Christmas.”
About the time Kluwe started kindergarten was when he realized he was getting short shrift when it came to a birthday celebration. Not only did it come the day before everybody else got presents, but he didn’t have the one advantage so many of his classmates got to enjoy – the chance to cut class to do something fun in school.
“It did kind of suck seeing friends having huge parties at other times of the year, knowing that I wasn’t going to have those,” Kluwe said. “The worst part for me was that you couldn’t bail out of school on your birthday because it fell on Christmas break. Other kids got to get out of school on their birthdays to do something special with their families. It kind of sucked.”
As time went on and Kluwe began to do the birthday math that he was getting “calendarized” out of a party, his parents devised a new plan. Given the amount of travel his friends’ families were doing around the holiday, it was virtually impossible to get them together for a standard birthday party, so his parents improvised as he grew older – setting a phantom birthday in the summer to involve his friends. It seemed strange to Kluwe, but he played along for the sake of the presents.
“Normally Christmas Eve was the birthday party with my family,” Kluwe said. “We would do a birthday party with my friends during the summer, although it didn’t really have the same feel – having a party knowing that it wasn’t really my birthday. But, any time there’s cake involved, kids don’t care if it’s your actual birthday or not. They’re in on going to a party.”
Kluwe no longer laments the timing of his birth and its proximity to the birthday of Jesus. He still has an intimate family get-together as a Christmas precursor and the presents are no longer the issue they were in his youth.
“Nowadays, I don’t really care,” Kluwe said. “The older you get, the less you look forward to birthdays. I can pretty much afford to get myself whatever presents I may want and don’t look at it like that anymore. But there was a time when I was a teenager that I thought it really sucked and I can sympathize with those kids who are going through it now. It may not be fair, but you can’t really help when you were born. Besides, some pretty great people were born around that date, so you’re in good company.”
There were no surprises on the Vikings’ final injury report released late Friday morning.
G Steve Hutchinson and CB Asher Allen are out with concussions, and CB Chris Cook remains out with his legal issues.
Joe Berger is expected, who started one game at center for John Sullivan and four games at right guard for Anthony Herrera in injury situations, is expected to start at left guard for Hutchinson. Rookie Brandon Fusco could also see some reps there, as well.
Brandon Burton is likely to start in place of Allen, with Benny Sapp being the other starting cornerback. Marcus Sherels would be the nickel cornerback, and Cedric Griffin could see some time on defense once again after playing only special teams Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
Herrera (knee), S Jarrad Page (hamstring), DT Kevin Williams (knee) and LB Erin Henderson (illness) all practiced fully and are probable for Saturday’s game against the Washington Redskins.
For the Redskins, T Jammal Brown (groin) and RB Roy Helu (toe/knee) are questionable. Everyone else list on their injury report is probable.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Tim Yotter contributed to this report. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.