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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Goodbye Metrodump (part 1)

Through the fish-eyed lens of tear stained eyes
I can barely define the shape of this moment in time


Saturday marks the beginning of the end to the Metrodome.  The Metrodome which was the fairweather fan's lair to simply stand up and clap whenever a phenomenal play happens and to stand in the small concourse right in the middle of everyone and look around whenever they are lost.  It is also the place where polo shirt wearing fathers come and take their kids and end up leaving early to beat the traffic.  Also the place where Minnesota fans can have the illusion that they live in a warmer place than they do.  On Saturday University of Minnesota Golden Gopher football team will play their final game at the Metrodome against the evil Iowa Hawkeyes and I couldn't be happier.

When I think of memorable games at the Metrodome I think of Kirby Puckett and game 6 in '91 and one of the best games in baseball history with game 7.  There's also the World Series games in '87 where the fans reached 115 decibles which is like standing behind a plane when it takes off.  Of course there's all those homer hankies waving wildly, the Super Bowl, The Final Four, and maybe the 1985 All Star Game. 

These are the best memories I can come up with as a whole, not just baseball.

When it comes to Vikings football the memories become hard to come by.  At least happy memories because I can remember the game where Brad Johnson caught his own touchdown pass, Randy Moss' first game where he caught two touchdowns, and maybe two decent playoff games?  Perhaps that '87 playoff game where Anthony Carter was possessed would be a candidate but I was only 7 and begging my dad for attention at that time. The most memorable game would have to be that '98 Championship game which does not need any sort of mention.  Then there's the playoff losses to Chicago and Washington.  The heartbreaking loss to Denver when they were on fire in '96.  Denny Green Taking a knee in '98 also comes to mind.

Maybe I should stop there before I jump off a bridge.

Gopher football in the dome though, my memories are as follows,

  • Gophers blowing a fourth quarter lead to Michigan in 2003 (Glen Mason excuse:  no on campus, outdoor stadium)
  • Gophers losing to Northwestern in 2000 due to a Hail Mary at the end of the game(Glen mason excuse:  no on campus, outdoor stadium)
  • Gophers losing to Iowa and having their fans storm the field (our field) and trying to take the goal posts out of the stadium (Glen mason excuse:  no on campus, outdoor football stadium)
  • Gophers losing to Wisconsin because they botched up the punt on their own ten yard line and Wisconsin scored the game winning touchdown with a minute to go.  (Glen Mason excuse:  no on campus, outdoor football stadium)
  • Gophers losing to NDSU in 2007 (Glen Mason wasn't our coach)
  • Gophers beating Wisconsin in 2003 (Glen Mason took all the credit for that)
  • Gophers losing to Nebraska in 1988 42-0 ( I was only 8 at the time so I'm sure Glen Mason's excuse was:  If I was coach they would've at least scored a meaningless field goal)

Anyone have another decent Gopher Metrodome moment?  Anyone who isn't related to a player?  

I guess I can tell my story of the Northwestern game since I was there, sitting in front of the Northwestern fans. 

Gather 'round everyone

I went to the game with my friend C and his family.  C's dad was head of the pork producers and he scored a number of tickets in the front row of the upper deck so the seats were alright.  Of course there was a sea of purple sitting behind us which was surprising because I didn't know Northwestern had any fans.  Anyway the Gophers were up 35-14 in the 3rd quarter.  After each Gopher touchdown there would be a parade of gopher fans slowly walking up the upper deck aisle above us to cock off at the Northwestern fans.  This parade would sing the rouser, point and laugh, and yell at this group of purple. 

It was simply great and I nearly joined them because I kinda like being a dick like that. 

Then came the fourth quarter where the Gophers never ever seem to have anything resembling a defense.  It's almost as if the gopher defensive players start fading away like Marty McFly in Back to the Future.

One Touchdown
Two Touchdowns
Three Touchdowns and now we're tied. 

The group behind us was now standing up and going crazy after the amazing fourth quarter comeback.  Northwestern then performed and onside kick and recovered.  Now with only a couple seconds left the Wildcats were on the 45 and attempting a Hail Mary to take the lead and avoid overtime.  The throw went up, hit a group of players, and landed in a Northwestern receiver's hand.  All of us Gopher fans sitting in the upper deck sat there wearing a Charlie Brown-type frown as the Northwestern fans paraded around us and shoved a ton of humble pie in our faces. 

God dammit.  That is the only way to describe the Gophers tenure in the Metrodome.

I remember when I went to the recent Gopher/Michigan game I saw a banner that read, "Celebrating 27 years of Golden Gopher football in the Metrodome".  I think the University of Minnesota could've saved the money and instead made a memorial patch with Goldy Gopher running away from the Metrodome and throwing up "the bird" with a huge pissed off look. 

Other than all the losing the Metrodome has brought on a generation of wimpy fans who shudder when they think of standing in 40 degree weather.  This coming from people who LIVE where temperatures fall below zero and where the fishing and hunting opener are damn near a state holidays.  This is coming from people who go ice fishing, skiing, and snowmobiling in any weather conditions.  I expect this whining from people in Florida who view Minnesota as an arctic waste land where penguins and polar bears roam the land but not from Minnesota.  I have always longed for the football game in the snowstorm where you have a flask of brandy keeping you warm and the breath of the fans coming from everywhere.  I simply can't wait for the first rainy game in TCF stadium because I will be there in my rain gear drunk and and ready to beat the crap out of Indiana.  

I know I'm not going to shed a tear for the Metrodome in terms of Gopher football.  The Metrodome is symbol for college futility as far as I'm concerned.  Blow the damn thing up and then, and only then, play that U of M rouser. 

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