Now that a demolition date for the Metrodome is official, I must admit a certain ennui has overtaken me. You see, there was a time that I loved the Dome. As an elementary school kid obsessed with the Twins and Vikings, a visit to that immense bubble brought me more joy than any Christmas morning or new puppy could ever possibly bring. I had no idea who Hubert H. Humphrey was, but I knew only the greatest of men would be worthy of having their name emblazoned on such a sacred temple. I loved the Teflon roof. I loved the high-rise thrill of sitting in the nosebleed seats. I loved the salty mystery meat blend sealed within the intestinal casing of a steaming Dome Dog. I was a full-blown Domosexual.
I witnessed a variety of unforgettable experiences there. Including:
- The longest game in Twins history (as measured in time, not innings).
- The first time a hole sprung open in the roof (during a violent thunderstorm).
- The Favre to Greg Lewis Hail Mary vs San Francisco.
- The 1986 MLB All-Star Game (Eddie Murray waved to me and my cousin).
- Kirby Puckett beating the Red Sox with a bottom of the ninth home run.
I also watched my share of forgettable events, including:
- A 13-0 Twins loss at the hands of the lowly Royals.
- The Vikings blowing a 20 point halftime lead en route to a embarrassing loss to Detroit.
- Brad Radke throwing a nine inning gem only to have the Twins lose 1-0 in 10 innings.
- A drunken fan tumbling down 40 concrete steps. (Actually pretty funny once we realized he was okay.)
I even worked in Fan Accommodations for the Vikings, a thankless job which required my college roommate Kevin and me to wear purple jump suits and carry walkie-talkies while feebly attempting to help fans with various issues. This was great until we realized it was infinitely more fun to watch the game at home while savoring Summit EPAs than it was to miss half the game dealing with exceptionally cranky elderly people who demanded the volume on the Dome’s PA system be turned down.
The first evidence that my love for the H.H.H. Metrodome was fading surfaced at a Twins game in the late 90′s. The Twins beat the Tigers and led the entire game, yet myself and the other 2,500 fans in attendance were all bored to tears. The magic of the Dome itself was no longer enough to hold my attention, and I started to see it as most see it now: a sterile, cavernous monolith with no hint of character. I did attend an occasional Vikings game after that, but I had fun in spite of the Dome, not because of it.
When the dynamite explodes, I won’t think about the Super Bowl, World Series, or NCAA Final Fours that were held there. I will think about the first time I went to the Dome. It was October 16th, 1983, and my Dad took me to see the Vikes take on the Houston Oilers. I was six, and even though my Dad tried to explain to me how great of a running back Earl Campbell was and that Bud Grant was a Hall of Fame coach, I was more enthralled with the sheer enormity of the building and the fact that there were 59,000 other humans in the same room as I was. I cheered on the Vikes as they steamrolled to a 34-14 victory, and my fate as a football worshipping rube was sealed.
I’m glad the Vikings are getting a new stadium; the current state of economics in the NFL demands it. But I won’t be all smiles when the Dome is euthanized and I know I will have a visceral reaction the first time I see the Minneapolis skyline without it. It certainly is a craphole, but within that craphole lies some of the best memories of my life.
When the new stadium opens in September of 2016, there will be a Dad in the stands trying to convince his six year-old that Christian Ponder would be more accurate if he would only step into his throws and that Adrian Peterson was once an unstoppable force of nature. Whether this kid gets it or not no one can tell, but one thing is certain: his life will never be the same.