In the big-picture, this is still a good time to be a Minnesota sports fan — quite possibly the best time, in fact, in about 15 years if we consider the quantity of local teams that have realistic aspirations of greatness (or at least “good-ness”).
The last few days, though, have mostly been not so great. They have, instead, reinforced recurring themes/nightmares that doomed local teams before.
Get excited about Gophers football after an undefeated nonconference start? Whoops, here’s a home loss to a double-digit underdog to start the Big Ten season to remind you Minnesota is still transitioning from bricks to boats.
Think the Vikings will be just fine without Sam Bradford for a while because Case Keenum lit things up for a game and rookie running back Dalvin Cook is a stud? Nah, here’s a home clunker from Keenum against the Lions, and a torn ACL for Cook.
Confident that the surprising Twins, full of swagger, will knock off the Yankees in their return the playoffs? Nope, not this time.
Excited by Minnesota United’s dramatic comeback win in Atlanta on Tuesday? That’s cool, but the Loons’ playoff hopes are extremely thin and most of what they are building is geared toward the opening of their stadium in 2019.
Peering into the not-too-distant future, are you hopeful that maybe the Wild and Wolves will break through in respective ways this season — the Wild going deeper in the playoffs than in any of the past five years and the Wolves making the playoffs after 13 postseason-free years? Hope is good. But we don’t know how any of that will play out.
The one good thing you have been able to count on in the last handful of years is this: The Lynx will give you the feeling that every time they step on the court — particularly in big games — they reasonably expect to win.
They don’t always win — no team does — but they offer a certain confidence that is rare in Minnesota sports.
On Wednesday night, the Lynx will play the Sparks in Game 5 of the WNBA Finals at Williams Arena. This is a rematch of last year’s Game 5, pulled out by the Sparks in the last seconds (remember, the Lynx don’t always win). This game was forced when the Lynx won Game 4 by a final of 80-69 in Los Angeles — a Lynx-like triumph from start to finish.
The Lynx are the difference between a reason for optimism and true confidence. And it’s up to them once again to show Minnesota sports fans what winning means.