I was talking to Bud Grant this morning for a column that will appear in Sunday's Star Tribune. The conversation produced this shocking admission from Bud:
"I'm going to the State Fair next week to make an appearance. It's going to be the first time I've been there.''
You always have been well known for your candor, Coach Grant, but you cannot be telling the truth.
You lived your college years and several years following that in the Twin Cities. You coached the Vikings from 1967 through 1983 and returned in 1985 to rescue the franchise from the Season of Steckel. You have hung out here ever since ... when not following the waterfowl migration from Saskatchewan to Arkansas, or catching walleyes while at the lake cabin in northern Wisconsin.
And in all these years, you've never joined the Minnesota masses at the State Fair?
"That's right; I've never been to the Minnesota State Fair,'' Grant said.
"And you know, we used to practice at the old Midway Stadium starting at the end of August, until the Twins season ended and we went to Met Stadium.
"We had to go through State Fair traffic to get to Midway for practice. For some reason, I never walked across the street to see what was going on.''
One possible reason is that small talk with strangers was never Bud's No. 1 strength ... and much of that would've been required if he had visited the crowded grounds of the Fair.
"There's another reason, I suppose,'' Grant said. "When I was growing up in Superior [Wis.], my father ran a stand at county fairs in the area. After a couple of years of that, I said to myself: 'I've seen all the Ferris wheels I'll ever need to see.' ''