Fowler: Dome Had All The Charm Of Stearns County Pole Barn [OPINION]
This post is the opinion of Eric Fowler, friend of 1390 the Fan.
I've been lucky enough to see motocross, monster trucks, tractor pulls, football games (High School, College, Semi-Pro & Professional), baseball games, an outstanding U2 concert and even an NCAA college basketball tournament game or two at theMetrodome. Coming away from all of those events, I still feel like the venue is the equivalent of a Stearns County pole shed. It is a cold and non-descript box. It is reeks of being purely utilitarian and all devoid of style. Even the blue seats seem cold.
The seats are the one thing that people are interested in retaining from the dome. Some folks are looking to have them for their home town venue. A portion of those seekers are for the novelty and another portion merely looking to acquire cheap stadium seats for their local venue rather than buy new.
I know there is great concern for the venue during the very last Vikings game. As I understand, they have added an extra 100 police officers in the event that the crowd will turn into a melee much akin to the last game at the Met Stadium. The fear of fans stripping the place blind as people look for souvenirs. Strip what? The stainless steel urinal trough? (The blue seats are supposedly going to be tremendously difficult to remove). Well, in order to quell this thirst for souvenirs the plan is to hand out acommemorative pennant marking the beginning and the end of the dome.
The dome went up in 1982. As a public facility, it really has served the community quite well but if the placed burned down, the thought process would simply be "Call the insurance guy, we're gonna need another one of those". If Williams Arena (the beloved "Barn") was turned into ashes, they wailing and crying would go on for months but not for this shed.
The Dome has been bashed and criticized for its entire existence. Naturally, the Minnesotan side of me would say, "There's nothing wrong with the place...it works fine". The traveler in me says, "We could not possibly have created a venue with less style and character and it would be wonderful for the Twin Cities to have a world class football facility that matches the Target Field experience."
I realize that the new stadium will always have a few folks grumbling about its funding every time it is mentioned for its entire existence (estimated at 30 years). The classic rebuttal to those grumblers is the fact that the Vikings are a part of the fabric of our Minnesota culture. The back and forth discussion will be never ending and this argument is not something that can be quantified. If you would like to grasp a comprehension of how one would argue for the cultural need of a professional football team, I would recommend watching the HBO Documentary "Sport in America: Our Defining Stories". In this program you'll find a litany of folks speaking about the important memories they have related to professional sports.
The best memory I have of the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome is when I had a chance to go to a Vikes game with my two brothers, my two cousins and my best friend for the 2009 playoff tilt versus the Dallas Cowboys. The building had little to do with that good time. I don't expect the new place to have an affect on whether or not I have a good time. I expect the Vikes to be the biggest factor on the good times and the bad.