The long Vikings' lease toward the Metrodome expires. The football franchise that has been Minnesota's for fifty years is on the brink of an exit if they do not have a new stadium. Now, Mother Nature has been a cruel temptress, dumping the fifth most snow on the white bubble in its' history.
But this time it collapsed.
No, it has collapsed before. Actually, I went to a Twins' baseball game the night it partially collapsed in the 1980s. All I remember is that we left in the 6th inning of a bad game and watched on television from a nearby establishment as the rains fell through the inflatable roof. I was sorry I left and missed the chance to see something you do not see every day.
Yet I would get another chance.
The video captured by FOX cameras and played for the last week straight was impressive. YouTube videos have sprung up showing a worker avoiding the wall of snow as it fell to the field. We are in the news here in the Twin Cities for something that collapsed. Again. This time, luckily, no one was hurt.
So the game is moved to the campus of the University of Minnesota. The big Vikings' fifty year celebration will be held in the chilling weather of December. Just like the days of the Met Stadium in Bloomington. Fair weathered fans who have softened over the years in the warmth of Hubert Humphrey Stadium, Mall of America Field, or whatever Mike Ditka wants to call it, will now face the big chill that was so much of the success of the 1970s Vikings.
Those lucky fans!
Meanwhile, legislatures will try and offer some type of packaged deal similar to the Twins Target Field, which will ensure that we keep the Purple in Minnesota. Fans of the Vikings want to see them stay, even if it means some type of financial burden placed on them and/or the community. They are hopeful a wealthy owner such as Ziggy Wilf would meet them at some place that demonstrated he cared about us, too.
But some Minnesotans are not fans.
They will not want to see another chunk of our state dollar be siphoned by the sports community. They will not listen to talk that the business of a football team is profitable for the state. They see rich people ensnaring we fans financially and emotionally to the point that it takes hundreds of dollars to now attend a single game with family. Televisions are tuned to the NFL on Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays.
And they may be right.
But suddenly we have to choose. The Dome has fallen at a most convenient time. Almost too convenient if you are a conspiracy theorist. Suddenly, the Vikings and their fans are the laughing stock of the NFL. Their outdated stadium has basically blown up. Right before a large national audience comes to call. And right before a state celebration of the team's 50th Anniversary. Surely, the good people of Minnesota will ask their representatives to vote "Yes" for a new stadium bill, won't they?
Never mind the strike talk.
I confess I want a new stadium. I hated the Dome. I loved being at the World Series in 1987 and 1991, but I resented being a season ticket holder for the Vikings at times. The piped in music, uncomfortable seats, and plastic feel were such a different feel that the Met. I went to many games in the 1970s. It was cold. It was wonderful. When teams visited from the West Coast or the South I would laugh as I watched them huddle around sideline heaters. That was our natural edge. We played in the environment that we grew up in.
What will happen next?
The fans are now in a position where events have pushed them to support immediately the building of a new stadium. Unfortunately, the possibility of a players' strike could not have come at a worse time. Add to that the worst economy in many, many years and we have a public relations disaster of great proportion. We have no money, yet we need to buy a stadium for a league that may not play because the millionaires and billionaires cannot decide on a fair percent of the profit.
As a fan who feels the Vikings are worth that, all I can say is ... Did you see that Dome collapse?