Minnesota Sports Is Like Living ‘Groundhog Day’
“Well, it’s Groundhog Day … again.”
Bill Murray’s famous line (in what I feel is a fantastic movie) is accurate. If Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow, that means six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t, we’re headed for an early spring. Don't remember the scene? Here you go, just for fun.
Most Minnesotans should laugh at the entire notion of this day. Have you checked your thermometer this week? Right now, only six more weeks of winter would feel like an early spring. Northland meteorologists would be the most popular people in town.
For me, the best part of the day is that there’s a decent chance I’ll find the movie “Groundhog Day” on some channel and possibly on a loop for several hours. The irony of repeating the movie is not lost on me, as the plot revolves around experiencing the same day over and over while Murray’s character attempts slight changes to “get it right.”
Sound familiar, sports fans?
Let’s face it, following Minnesota professional teams is basically living a constant Groundhog Day. The narratives rarely change, and the results speak for themselves.
On the men’s side of things, we have not had a champion since 1991. No sports market with all four men’s major sports has suffered longer.
Can we at least be proud that we have all four major sports? Folks in Wisconsin love to remind you how wonderful their teams are, but they don’t count. Many of these people must borrow the Minnesota Wild for hockey and share in our misery.
The Lynx have saved us on the women’s side of sports, but even they are in a bit of a rebuilding mode. A bigger question for their team is: Do Minnesotans do a good enough job noticing them?
I consider myself to be a passionate Lynx fan, but even I was surprised to learn that this will be their 25th season. During a week that featured “National Girls and Women in Sports Day,” it seems obvious that the Lynx deserve more attention. Yet, it’s likely that narrative hasn’t changed in years either.
All this Groundhog Day talk has a negative connotation, doesn’t it?
To some, sure. Yet to me, it’s quite the contrary.
There’s one thing about being in such a struggling sports market that is personally incredible – there’s always a debate to be had.
Being an avid Minnesota fan, but also a co-host of a sports radio show is a blessing. The show consistently writes itself. I’ve also said many times (and it bares repeating) just how therapeutic the show platform can become.
Minnesota sports might be Groundhog Day, but as the kids say – I’m here for it.
The Vikings have a horrible defense, but good luck going five minutes without finding someone who will pin that on Kirk Cousins. Minnesota brought in an all-new NFL brass and won 13 games this season – but it won’t last because our GM can’t draft any quality players.
The Super Bowl hasn’t even been played yet, and fans are growing impatient for next year’s defensive coordinator, trying to trade Cousins, and whining about a lack of upcoming draft picks (ironic that we want a GM who “can’t draft” to get more attempts). You can’t make this stuff up.
The Twins? Their season is over two months away, but sometimes you’d wonder why they even have a team if you listen to certain fans.
“Cheap Pohlads” will never die no matter who signs here and for how much money. Carlos Correa gets 200 million dollars, but fans wonder what day he pitches. This appears to be the deepest Twins rotation in several years, but that’s an indictment on an organization that has signed far more Anthony Youngs than Cy Youngs.
We needed more pitching so we’d better trade for it. NO! DON’T TRADE LUIS ARRAEZ!
It was going to be an Ortiz-like nightmare to watch Byron Buxton play for anyone else, but why on Earth did we sign a guy who’s never healthy? Again, the whole spectrum is fascinating.
We just finished another memorable “Hockey Day Minnesota,” and this state really rolls out the red carpet for hockey fans annually. Yet the pro team? They’re good. Just not THAT good.
Blow it up! Let the young guys keep learning! These are desires I sometimes hear together even though it’s a contradiction. The Wild simply don’t have very many guys who aren’t young right now.
This team continues to be the most consistent in Minnesota, but the frustration lies in consistently getting eliminated in the opening round of the playoffs. Yet, it’s hockey, and we lost a franchise once already. That means unconditional love, right?
Lastly, I’ll consider the Wolves, and not just because “last” and “Wolves” used to be synonyms. In fact, the Wolves have changed a couple of narratives recently. Saying “they’re terrible,” or that they “haven’t been good since Garnett,” just isn’t true anymore.
This team is very talented, and that’s helped them join the debate level of the other three major men’s teams. If you’re awful, you’re disregarded and with each loss, the bandwagon seems to empty. However, they’ve got just enough drama, which is what fans love and loathe.
The Wolves made a huge trade for one man, and in the eyes of many, sacrificed their future in the process. It’s not an epic failure at all yet, but if you put Rudy Gobert up against a certain former running back and ask who further ruined a promising team – that would be a more interesting runoff.
There’s also a key player for the Wolves who has become very polarizing. He puts up incredible stats and was highly touted upon arrival. Yet, his body language never truly convinces you he’s comfortable or that he knows how to win. Hmmm…how long until the Wolves uniforms are purple?
Again, none of these narratives are new, and I’m not one to embrace the negative nature of them. I’m more on the hopeful side, but also fully aware of how often the negative is proven right in Minnesota.
Yet isn’t this awesome? How much more entertaining is this than being a Chiefs fan in Kansas City? Their quarterback’s biggest issues are his wife and brother being annoying.
How about New York? Must be riveting to wonder which star cultivated by another team the Yankees or Mets will buy next.
Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics radio shows? That’s not “Groundhog Day,” that’s “The LEGO Movie.” All they do is say “everything is awesome,” – and they’re right.
Deep down I know that all Minnesota fans would willingly end arguments to spend even a day feeling like those other markets. Imagine knowing that your teams are “that good.”
Hopefully, Punxsutawney Phil can tell us just how long we’ll be waiting for that to come true.
In the meantime, I can’t wait to talk us through every minute. “See you on the radio” at 10am Saturday!
Brian's show, 'The Northland Sports Page', can be heard Saturdays from 10 am to noon on the FAN 106.5 FM/560 AM. You can catch previous episodes on the Northland FAN On-Demand area of our website or on our mobile app.