Being at home for a couple of weeks with a tiny baby can make you a lot of things, and roughly Nos. 1-42 on the list have something to do with being sleep-deprived.
But it also offers you an obscene amount of time on the couch. (This was probably the case with our first child a couple of years ago, but because of the sleep-deprivation you couldn’t get me to remember much of anything that happened.)
Long story short: The guess was that there wouldn’t be much time to keep up with Minnesota sports. The truth was just the opposite, with the DVR filled with Gophers, Wild, Wolves and even Vikings games … and unloaded at those random times an infant decides it is time to sleep.
Longer story short: Watching all these games hammered home a sad point that nothing ever changes.
That idea flies in the face of so much of what I had been reading (for pleasure) and writing (for work) in the past year — that we are not defined by our history, that the past is not a predictor of the future, that we (and teams) are capable of change.
But in the bleary-eyed sample size of the past couple weeks, it was hard to think anything except:
Same old Vikings: A franchise that has been defined by overall success stained by 1) crushing hopes and dreams, 2) often in excruciating fashion, is now 6-6 after starting 5-0. The past two losses, the latest on Thursday to at least not ruin a weekend, have arrived via a late interception and last-second field goal plus a late rally cut short by a missed two-point conversion (with an officiating controversy for added fun!).
These depressing outcomes are peak Vikings, with coach Mike Zimmer’s serious eye problems serving as the microcosm of the entire thing.
Same old Gophers football team: They make you want to believe by putting together some beautiful football against Wisconsin, only to get turned away with a true signature victory within their grasp. An 8-4 season with a berth in the Holiday Bowl is hardly a failure, but even the best Minnesota seasons in recent memory are colored by the notion that they could have been even better.
Same old Timberwolves: Each and every one of us should have to write on the blackboard 100 times, “I will not get overly optimistic about the Wolves until they prove themselves on the court first.” Potential is great, and this version of the Timberwolves still has plenty of upside. For now, though, they are 6-14 — one of the worst teams in the Western Conference. And they look the part.
Same old Wild: Goal-differential aside (a plus-14, best in the Western Conference entering play Sunday), this once again looks to be a group that will go through prolonged stretches in which it can’t score goals, will absolutely rely on its goaltending and will hope to get into the playoffs with a low seed. It’s hard to recall a Wild season in which that wasn’t the formula.