Monday, December 18, 2006

Vikings-Packers: anecdote of a rivalry

Fan rivalry between Minnesota and Wisconsin is interesting. For one thing, the Twin Cities is right near the WI border (several WI communities are considered part of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area), while the big Wisconsin teams are over on the east side of WI, away from Minnesota. The near proximity of Wisconsin fans, combined with the fact that a good number of Wisconsinites move to the Twin Cities (for various reasons) means there are more WI sports fans near the heavy MN fanbase than there are MN fans near the heavy WI fanbase. I've had the particular joy of attending and working at UW-River Falls, where roughly half the students are from MN and half are from WI, so the Packer-Viking rivalry has a particular bite to it.

Anyway, here's the anecdote as we get ready for a seemingly meaningless Thursday game that is actually full of meaning for fans.

A few years ago I was at a Timberwolves game, and one of the inane activities they during a break time (probably halftime) was to pull random fans out and have them do some silly contest. The PA announcer gave the random individuals' names and hometowns to the Target Center crowd. One woman was from Hudson, WI (a WI town right across the river). At the mention of "Wisconsin," she was roundly, loudly booed. If I remember correctly, this booing was sustained during her participation in said inane contest. Now, the booing was, I think, light-hearted--the woman was laughing and it's not like people started throwing whiskey bottles at her or anything. But it was there.

What I'm saying is, as fans this game means something. A whole lot, actually. The proximity of the fanbases for the teams means that for fans, the winner of a Thursday night game between pointless 6-8 teams means way too much to our happiness.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:36 PM

    The game isn't technically meaningless - it's a mathematical elimination game: the loser is officially done, whereas the winner still has a slim chance of getting into the postseason.

    I would think that Vikings and Packers fans would rejoice at the chance to end the hopes and dreams (however dim) of a hated rival.