The Gopher basketball teams are reeling. The Timberwolves are, well the Timberwolves. The Wild may or may not make the NHL playoffs, and the Minnesota Twins look like they'll have a few issues to work out these next few months. Throw in a March snow storm and essayist Peter Smith says now is the season of the Minnesota sports fan's discontent.
Smith: I've reached a point in my life as a sports fan where I've lost a step. I just can't jump on the bandwagon as quickly as I used to, and I'm not as spry when it comes to reaching for my wallet and buying tickets.
I'm not as quick to believe the latest trade or front office roster move will turn our scrappy-but-beleaguered little club into a legitimate contender... And all our Minnesota clubs are so beleaguered.
Basketball, hockey, baseball, football-college and pro, every one of them has problems-problems that, year in year out, keep us from winning the big one.
If it isn't elbow or knee surgery it's a groin pull, Or a stadium issue. Or a contract dispute. Or a coaching change. Or a penalty for having twelve men on the field. Or a roof collapse.
Something always jumps up, grabs a handful of jersey and pull us back just when we're on the brink of glory.
It wouldn't be so bad if Minnesota fans weren't required to believe so fervently. When hope starts to die (and make no mistake about it, hope has died for every one of our teams every season for the past twenty years) we're expected to just keep believing,
Owners, front office types, coaches, and players can accept failure with cool, dispassionate professionalism. We fans, on the other hand, are expected to wear our hearts on our sleeves; to stay loyal; to walk away at the end of yet another bust of a season, tears running through our face paint, thinking, "That's OK. Heck of a try. We'll get 'em next year."
Next year comes. Somebody blows an elbow. Or strains a knee. Or pulls a groin. A coach gets fired. An official blows a call. Something happens. Something always happens.
Our winter sports teams are fading now. Later this month, they'll start spring football practice at the U with another new coach and another new system. The Vikings may not play next fall at all. The Twins are working their winter kinks-and their roster issues-out down in Florida.
Quick. Somebody reach down and pull me up onto a bandwagon. Any bandwagon. My old team spirit seems to have suffered a groin pull.