Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Save the Dome

Ten days ago Minneapolis was in the news for a near-record early December blizzard that dumped snow measured by the foot. This load of snow caused the inflatable roof of the domed football stadium ( officially the Hubert H. Humphrey Dome at Mall of America Field) where the Minnesota Vikings play, to collapse. Down it came, just like the hopes of Vikings fans who have watched their purple team collapse this season. Off went the Vikings to play a rescheduled Sunday to Monday game in Detroit.
Stadium officials, Vikings management, NFL bigsters, media and local government stared at the hole and scratched their collective heads. What to do. What to do? It became apparent there was no quick fix. No fix before the next game on Dec. 20. Moving to another city would result in too much of a revenue loss. The decision was made to play at the beautiful year-old TCF Bank stadium on the U of MN campus.
Tell me again why we didn’t think of that before. Share that stadium. The Gophers play on Saturdays. The Vikings play Sundays.
We watched as an Herculean effort converted the TCF stadium from a buried in two feet of snow winterized Dr. Zhivago ice stadium into a ready to play again shoveled out, semi-defrosted option. They did it. They were ready for the final game between the Vikings and Bears.
Die-hard fans came despite another snowstorm starting a few hours before game time. Die-hard fans came despite scarce parking that cost $20 - $40 bucks. Die- hard fans came despite the no alcohol policy of the university. Die-hard fans came even if they couldn’t tailgate. These folks love the Vikings and the nostalgia of outdoor football kept their spirits high.
In an era of cash strapped state and local governments, we should take note of this desire for nostalgia. Why not return to the days when tough northern teams who played outdoors had an advantage over teams like the Miama Dolphins and other hothouse teams? Bud Grant knew the possibilities and those were the golden days of the Vikings. Toughen up. Outlast them. Fans stayed warm enough huddled over parking lot tailgate barbeques in their snowsuits with ETOH coursing through their veins. We could do this.
Here is my win/win solution. It came to me this morning after reading an article in the paper about officials shooting out another panel in the stressed Metrodome roof. The roof has been temporily patched but a buildup of ice was threatening to damagethe supporting cables if it collapsed again. They used a shotgun to destroy the panel leaving another gaping hole for the ice to come down .
Why can’t we just shoot the whole thing down? Sell the right to shoot holes in the dome roof to the highest bidder. Won't we all have more $$$ after the Tax cuts? Rich men have spent big money hunting big game in Africa. Why not spend big money for a chance to see who can fire the round that brings the whole thing down? Then we could keep what is left of the building and play outdoor football there. The parking, public transportation and surrounding bars are already in place. Pretty it up a bit. Fans could drink, tailgate and wear snowmobile suits to watch football. We could beat the Miami Dolphins and have our vengeance against the New Orleans Saints who beat up Brett in 2009’s playoff.

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