Jim Souhan: We're back on center stage, with frozen warts and all

  • Article by: JIM SOUHAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 22, 2014 - 1:58 PM

If you ever feel tempted to question the Wilfs' business acumen, remember this: They just sold frostbite to billionaires.

This means more skyways, right?

Please tell me that we’re not inviting the biggest, most extravagant sporting event in the history of the world to Minnesota during a February, and that we’re going to allow human beings to actually go outside.

So, it’s decided. By January 2018, as the Vikings knock icicles off the mustache affixed to Zygi’s statue outside the Ice Palace in preparation for Super Bowl BRRRRR, every business — no, every building, including shotgun shacks and ice-fishing huts — will be linked by a skyway, or a tunnel, or a human shield of Minnesotans who have volunteered to protect the uninitiated from air cold enough to freeze a nose hair.

Congratulations to the Wilfs. If you ever feel tempted to question their business acumen, remember this. They just sold frostbite to billionaires.

They beat out New Orleans, the quintessential Super Bowl City, and Indianapolis, a less-cold city in which you can walk to every event without going outdoors.

This is the real Miracle on Ice.

It’s not surprising that the Wilfs, the Vikings and downtown Minneapolis business leaders want the Super Bowl in Minneapolis. Their pockets will be lined, and with more than fur.

The question is why the average Minnesotan would want the Super Bowl here in February.

We don’t invite friends and relatives to Minnesota in February. Why would we invite the world?

Especially the portion of the world that wields laptops and cameras?

You remember February, unless your therapist has helped you block it out. February is when we suffer from cabin fever and cold sores, when we lock ourselves indoors with a fire (whether we have a fireplace or not) and stare at screens until our skin matches the blue fluorescent glow emanating from the TV.

And those are the good days.

I’ve spoken to visitors who are forced to travel here during winter. They ask why we live here. They laugh at us. When Jerry Seinfeld did a show in downtown Minneapolis this winter, he referred to our skyways as “Habitrails.”

The rest of the country cannot fathom why we put ourselves through this, and let’s be honest: We can’t either when we’re in the throes of winter. We all just pile on layers and pray that, this year, summer will fall on a Saturday.

I know lifelong Minnesotans who used to call winter-whiners “wimps,” and who now are plotting moves to warmer climes. “I can’t take it anymore,” they say, more defeated than the Vikings in a big game.

I also know the people who would come to Minneapolis to cover a Super Bowl. They will spend the next three years honing cold-weather jokes.

We know why we live here. We have attractive, livable cities, filled with cool buildings and good restaurants. We have four pro sports teams if you include the Timberwolves, and a Big Ten university that promises to someday compete in major intercollegiate athletics.

We have a big river. We have good schools. Our summers and falls are gorgeous, and I am partial to both weeks of spring.

What we don’t have is a city fit for human habitation in February, not unless we’re going to expand our Habitrails so they link with every building from the new Vikings stadium to the airport.

If football fans around the country want a taste of our winter, they don’t need to travel here. They can watch the next episode of “Fargo.”

Our business and political leaders wanted the big game here to make money and raise awareness of our great cities.

We already have those events.

One is called the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. It will be played in July, at our beautiful ballpark, in beautiful weather, in an increasingly beautiful part of town.

The other is called the Ryder Cup, and it will be contested in the fall of 2016 at picturesque and pristine Hazeltine National.

Those events will broadcast to the nation that, when the tundra thaws, there are reasons to live in the Twin Cities. What the Super Bowl will bring is more jokes about Habitrails and ice fishing.

We were better off being known for Jesse Ventura.

 

Jim Souhan can be heard weekdays at noon and Sundays from 10 to noon on 1500 ESPN. His Twitter name is @SouhanStrib. • jsouhan@startribune.com

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