You don't have to like public money being spent on this stadium; in fact, you probably shouldn't. But that's the realpolitik: as commenter Ethan noted, the league has the supply of teams, and the league can demand communities help pay for their stadiums or they'll relocate (the league and teams don't really have an ethical argument to add to that, as much as they try to talk about jobs and economy). It is up to a community, through its democratic processes, to make the choice about whether to meet the league's demands. The efforts of humans to live together in a society are often full of compromises and moral ambiguity. This is messy. But in the end, while I don't blame those who disagree, Minnesota is a better state for having the Vikings, and many Minnesotans will live happier lives for having the Vikings.
I was more than usually traumatized by the end of the 2009 season because I thought it was the last chance: I feared pretty strongly that there would be no Minnesota Vikings after 2011, and that if we were ever going to see a Super Bowl win to remember no matter what else happened, that would be the year. And while watching a team rebuild, and trying to dissect Christian Ponder's development and hope over Matt Kalil and praise and criticize the Vikings' moves, it's been easy to worry that they're not rebuilding toward anything that we'll be rooting for. But now that the Vikings will be in Minnesota for at least another generation, we can know that if Christian Ponder doesn't pan out, the Vikings can try again and maybe somebody else will. If Leslie Frazier gets fired, maybe the next coach will be the one to take us to the proverbial promised land. If Adrian Peterson's prime is spent without a Super Bowl title, we'll have the memories of AP as the team tries to move on and win a Super Bowl after AP. If the team we're watching at the moment fails, then the team can be remade, again and again, for decades, until hopefully, maybe, someday, there is purple and gold confetti falling down at the Super Bowl.
That's what a stadium gives us: decades of possibility. Instead of bitter memories, we live with hope, and that hope provides a year-round, every-year spring of joy.
This news has filled me with a sort of inner jubilation. The dread of years is over. The Vikings are ours, still.
Kick Ass Links
The Vikings cut Ryan Longwell (Star Tribune). Longwell just missed the chance to make the kick to send the Vikings to the Super Bowl for the first time since the '76 season. I would have trusted him from 50 indoors. And I will never see the 12 men in the huddle penalty again without being sad.
Seattle Seahawk Deuce Lutui has gotten trimmer and healthier by going vegan (Seahawks.com). Welcome to the club, Mr. Lutui.
Cris Carter set some bounties, too (City Pages).
Peyton Manning in Denver (Yahoo!).
I gave my hair tribute to Tony Parker by trying to match his short hair with beard look; I mean, it's working for him (OK, really it's my Finals Week beard. It's not like I'm going the full Harden or anything. My wife, by the way, only knows Harden as "the beard." These days I frequently fall asleep on the couch watching Western Conference playoffs, find out the next morning who won the game I fell asleep watching, and then report whether the beard's team won or not). But this guy... (Yahoo! err...here's what I'm talking about). It almost makes it seem less weird to paint your face purple or put on a horned helmet and go hang out at the state capital. I don't judge! I love the flamboyance of it. We need more events that allow for ostentatious costume, not fewer, even if it does look semi-insane. Really, it makes me happy to see my purple-blooded brothers and sisters doing the full super-fan at the capital.
NFL players (wait, no) N.F.L. players actually tend to live longer lives than other men (New York Times). I certainly don't like to think I'm watching gladiators destroying themselves for my entertainment, and recent events have made me feel that way. A story like this is encouraging, while still offering concern to keep on pressing about player safety. (Also Football Outsiders, citing Slate).
Has anybody ever won by expressing anger toward somebody with a camera? It is being filmed! You'll look ridiculous! Rajon Rondo, anyway (Yahoo!).
Every political topic requires two-colored maps! (MinnPost).
Blair Walsh "has big shoes to fill" (Star Tribune). Blair Walsh can buy his own damn shoes, or the team can buy him new ones, which is how I think they do it. And I doubt they still have Jan Stenrud's shoes sitting around Winter Park, so you don't have to worry about that. And if they give Walsh shoes that are too big, won't that make it harder to kick? Just give him shoes that fit him. I don't know what his shoe size is though: NFL.com tells his hand size, which really doesn't matter. God, it's Finals Week, what am I doing trying to find Blair Walsh's shoe size just for a bit? By the way, I now deal with overused cliches by taking them literally.
It's hard for me to believe the legislature is making important decisions in the middle of the night (Star Tribune). How many bad decision get made after midnight? I picture the capital after midnight like a giant dorm building--maybe the drinkers are out, but those still around are ordering crappy food and getting weird and giddy, doing increasingly stupid things. Most people make it through college without ever making a 3:30 a.m. decision that would affect an entire state for a generation, though.
Randy Freaking Moss (SI).
Have a good one, suckers.