The Metrodome now has an official shelf life; the stadium that's been at the center of Minnesota sports for more than three decades will expire in a matter of months, after the Vikings finish up their final voyage under the Teflon. I'll be there today, for the Minnesota United FC soccer match, and unless I make it to a Vikings game this fall, today is likely to be my final trip to the Dome.

Last year, my parents moved out of the house I grew up in, and though I tried not to be sentimental during the move, it was impossible, because everywhere I looked was another memory; that now-empty room was my room, that now-bare floor was where I used to lay down and read, that corner of the yard was home plate, and on, and on. For a kid like me who grew up loving all Minnesota sports, the Dome feels the exact same way. It's where I saw my first Twins game, and my first Vikings game, and my first Gopher football game. It's where I used to imagine myself, playing major league baseball or college football or in the Final Four.

The Metrodome always felt basic, shall we say, but in this era of Target Fields and Xcel Energy Centers it feels positively Spartan. It's terrible for half the sports played there and just uncomfortable for the rest, and when the new Football Crystal Cathedral is in place to replace it, I suppose not many fans will shed much of a tear.

You can bet that I'll linger as much as possible today, though. I tried not to look back when I drove away from the house, and my childhood, for the final time. I doubt I'll really be able to do the same today.

*On with the links: 

*The Timberwolves badly, badly need a shooting guard, and the preceding part of this sentence has been true more or less since 1989. Canis Hoopus looks at the free agent and trade options this offseason.

*Wright Thompson of ESPN goes to Italy to explore the virulent racism that most often expresses itself through soccer fandom in Italy.

*Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic played in the French Open semifinals yesterday, and Grantland's Brian Phillips was there every step of the insane way.

*Spencer Hall interviewed Baylor football coach Art Briles, and while Briles is the immediate subject, you're better off just reading it as a profile of every college football head coach ever.

*And finally: GQ sent Drew Magary on a Kid Rock-themed cruise, and the result is entertaining (if not necessarily appropriate for all audiences.)

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