Greenbay fans would probably say their NFL rival has already changed color with the acquisition of former Packer quarterback, Brett Favre. But the green I’m thinking of is much more “sustainable” than the color of a jersey, and it would mean sacrificing some of that “purple pride”.
Before I go any further, let me qualify this is not coming from some girl who hates sports. I followed Cedar Falls High school’s basketball team to state my senior year by paying my own bus fare. I made a poster (as only a radical fan would) for Morningside College’s basketball team when they went to the Final IV (Div II) and made the trip to Springfield, MO. I won a national contest to see Kareem Abdul-Jabbar play his final game in the NBA by answering eighty “trivia” questions about him. And when I moved back to the midwest from Atlanta, Minneapolis was considered worthy in part, because they had three professional sport franchises (it was before the Wild).
I was caught up in the Twins pennant race at the end of the summer. I think it’s ironic (and cool) a former Laker is now coaching the Timberwolves. And like the rest of the city, I’m thrilled the Vikings national attention this year is for their plays on the field (not off).
But the field is what I really want to talk about. The Gophers recently debuted their new TCF Stadium. Spring can’t come quick enough for the Twins who are just itching to throw that first pitch outdoors at Target Field. Then there’s the Vikings. Poor Vikings. Playing at the shameful Metro Dome. Between the team and owner Zygi Wilf you’d think the place should already be sporting those bright orange condemned stickers.
Don’t get me wrong. I get they’d like to keep up with the other local teams, the other NFL teams and professional sports in general, by building a brand new, state of the art stadium. Kind of reminds me when I lived in my old neighborhood. Even though we had beautiful new custom-built homes, we often found them lacking when someone else built something bigger, fancier or with better features. That neighborhood is nearly two decades old, and while the homeowners can now justify the need to remodel and upgrade here and there, it would be ludicrous to think they all needed to move out because those homes are no longer livable.
I’ve always tried not to be too indulgent with my girls. As a single mom, financially I’m unable to give them what I once could. But for the most part, they (should) basically want for nothing, because they really do have so very much.
I think the Vikings (and everyone else) could take a lesson from my (16 year-old) daughter. Last year when I asked her what she wanted for Christmas, the file she attached to an email was three pages long and had everything on it from magazine subscriptions to a Mini Cooper and was entitled, “My Greedy Little Wish List”.
Trust me, had all the desired loot found its way under the tree, she would’ve been in heaven and I doubt it would enter her mind to wonder who paid for it all (she is a teenager, after all). But the fact she knew these things were a “greedy little wish list” tells me I’ve done at least one thing right as a parent.
So what does all this have to do with the Vikings wanting a new stadium? I know it’s the American way to want, want, want and then want more. Keep up with the Joneses (Gophers, Twins and Los Angeles). Bigger, better, newer, flashier. In fact the Vikings are just one of six NFL teams planning on a new stadium.
I’ve only been to one Twins game in the last couple years. Never seen the Vikings play live. Maybe catch the Timberwolves once a season. As much as I enjoy watching, seeing the local teams play live is a luxury not many can afford to do on a regular basis. I’m a fan of sports in general and can be found yelling at the television many times all year long during the various sport seasons.
Unless the Metro Dome (and all the other stadiums around the country) is a safety hazard, I think it’s high time we quit looking at these multi-million dollar sports complexes as “throw-away” just because it’s not “new” enough. Never mind the economy has been in the tank for over a year, and people are going without healthcare (and food, and shelter and…). Not only are we a wasteful society, we also have a tendency to live beyond our means.
With all the corporate layoffs, what company can justify the expenditure of an even pricier box at a new stadium? The so-called run down and inferior locker rooms would be something many former pro athletes can only wish would’ve been available to their generation. Taxpayers can’t afford single tickets to the games played in the current stadiums, let alone an increase in taxes to pay for a new one. Whether it’s foreclosed mortgages or the on-going deficit of the government, we seem to want it all and we want it right now, even though we don’t know how it’s going to be paid for.
Back to the Vikings going green (I know, it’s about time, huh?)! I cannot believe there are no architects and experts that could take the Metro Dome and “sustainably” rehabilitate it. Shame on anyone (especially Zygi, with his degree in economics) who thinks in this economy we should be spending millions on something this frivolous when there are so many who go without so much.
Film the process (HGTV meets Extreme Makeover) and charge the advertisers Super Bowl rates. Okay, I digress, but I’m just trying to point out there are viable solutions that are more responsible, all the way around. Done right, the team could take pride on the field, off the field and because of the field. Hmmm…