Insight News

Dec 21st

(Mr. T's Sports Report) There’s something about Minnesota

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The whole country is gushing over what’s going on within the borders of Minnesota these days.  Turn on every television channel that even grazes the subject of sports, and one of the hometown headliners graces the air. Turn on Univision (the Spanish speaking station), and sandwiched between the words you may or may not understand, will be the word Minnesota; I imagine that the Japanese station is the same, especially since the Twins are playing the vaunted New York Yankees, who boast multiple Japanese players to their roster.

Heck, it’s the Yankees, so the World will be watching anyway. All over the World, if they’re talking about the best of American sports, they’re talking about Minnesota. The Minnesota tourism industry should hurry-up and roll-out an ‘It won’t be stupid-freezing cold until January’ marketing campaign, so we can pack in the Mall of America, and thus give everyone that third or fourth part-time job they need for the holidays.

Just when Brett Favre finished ripping open the buttons of his flannel, country boy, button-up shirt to reveal the S on his chest – meaning “Silver Fox”, and justifiably buried beneath haystacks of stressed-out golden-gray hair – is just about the same time that the lovable Twins baseball team stood up and straightened out the record as to who’s the championship winning team ‘round these parts. The Twins are heralded around the country, and perhaps beyond, because of their approach to the game of baseball. The baseball purist loves Minnesota Twins baseball. Thus in the minds of many, the Twins fully represent the ultimate scrappy-American-underdog

So, when the Twins made their late season comeback in the standings, even minus their superstar slugger Justin Mourneau, a match was thrown on the fire that is the American baseball love affair. It was easy to re-realize the fondness that the nation holds for memories of the ’87 and ’91 World Series. The national media seemed to have a kind of happy-misty look in their eyes in talking about Minnesota as a whole, and they might as well have all taken their turns hugging the Metrodome and giving Kirby Puckett’s banner a big wet kiss.  Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Ryback proudly rode the wave of Minnesota love on television the day after the Twins’ regular season extra-inning super-thriller finale, even predicting a World Series Championship. Hmmm.

Brett Favre has his own love affair with the country. Favre’s recent football victory over his former team, the Green Bay Packers supports comments made by Michael Jordan in his Hall of Fame speech.  Jordan said, “players, not management, win championships,” and this sentiment puts the icing on the cake for the athletes vs. management argument that lingers heavily in certain circles. And so answers to life’s most critical questions even get resolved on Minnesota soil, as we witness Brett Favre standing in painful celebration of victory over management as if he were Maximus from the movie Gladiator. The story of victory over management never gets old, and football runs this part of North America, and so the fire of the American love affair with football burns amidst 10,000 puddles of water alongside baseball.

Tiger Woods just left town, and the World’s love affair with golf joined him to enjoy a unique, challenging, enjoyable, and memorable major championship event. President Obama sure makes a point to kindle the fires of the nation’s love affair with politics (also a sport) through his frequent, poignant visits to Minnesota. Al Jefferson of the Minnesota Timberwolves lost 31lbs., and so the fire of America’s love affair with losing weight (also a sport) burns brightly in the Target Center sky.

There’s a lot of love in the Minnesota air, and all of those cumulative love-fires are sending smoke signals to the World.  Last week’s Vikings and Twins games broke all sorts of records for attendance and television viewers, so the proof is certainly calculable. If it moves people, it means something – and the good people of Minnesota should shake a tail-feather like the good people of Rio de Janeiro did when they won their bid for the Olympics.

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