Last night, Nugget finally took in her first Minnesota Wild game. Not in person, of course. It was on the television. She even had a friend over.
Okay, fine, neither of the babies were actually watching the television (which is a good thing). Both fathers certainly were. And yet, there was no real disappointment in the room over the outcome, or how the team got there (for those that don’t know, the Wild lost because they can’t keep other teams from scoring on special teams).
See, we’re Minnesota sports fans. We’re used to this. We’re made of tougher stuff.
See, living in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, there are a couple of things that are guaranteed. First, you’ll spend approximately 85% of your life in winter (there, folks. Finally made a cold weather comment. I hope you’re happy, with your palm trees and your fruity umbrella drinks and your full use of your fingers). Second, you’ll inevitably be asked about the time that you met Prince and/or any other famous person (full disclosure, if they’re famous and ever lived in Minnesota, even for a week, they’re a famous Minnesotan. They get claimed faster than coupons for free cookies). And third, you’ve grown so used to being disappointed by your sports teams that you almost accept their defeat as something that was charted out by destiny.
And those few moments where your team actually has a taste of greatness? You will hold on to that for the rest of eternity.
I mean, pick your sport. It seems like, if you’re following one of the Big Four sports, you’ve got your stories of actual success to get your through (Twins), ALMOST success foiled at the last minute (Vikings, Wild), or complete lack of success because you’re team seems to only be able to assemble a part-time roster (Timberwolves). I mean, even the college sports fans are clinging to amazing moments from the past, while they vast majority of their fans weren’t even alive for those moments (except for the hockey, because high school and college hockey in Minnesota is clearly where it’s at… that extended winter has to be good for something).
Of course, there’s also the history of teams leaving the state. Especially when those teams leave, and then go on to have long, successful runs. That kind of reaction just makes most Minnesotans shake their heads, almost in a “Ya, shure, but dey would have probably stunk up da place here if dey hadn’t moved, donchaknow?”. There are clearly Minnesotans out there who believe that, if the Vikings WOULD pack up and leave town (as they seem to threaten semi-annually), they would immediately become the most powerful handegg team in the land, and they would take the championship with ease.
Don’t get me wrong. There are definitely sports franchises with less going for them than what Minnesotan sports have. After all, we’re not Cubs fans. But there’s just a general malaise about the entire thing, and one that can’t even stir up righteous indignation in the vast majority of the state. Yes, fans will call for coaches to get fired, players to get benched, and cheerleaders to become cheerfollowers, but once the initial moment passes, they come to realize that they expected these failures to happen over and over and over again.
You know. Unless you happen to be a Lynx fan. Because they’re pretty damned good.