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King Boreas. The name doesn't strike fear into the hearts and minds of Minnesotans because we've learned to live with his terrible reign. He is the king of Winter, the tyrant we overthrow every year in the little festival we call Winter Carnival, at least in Saint Paul. But this year he got to have his own fun over in Minneapolis. It's good to be King.
You may think this is all legend and fun but it's serious business. Who else but King Boreas could reach out and tear a new hole in Minneapolis right on schedule?
By now everyone has seen the video of the Metrodome roof collapsing under the weight of a foot and a half of snow. It's impressive, sure, as is the long line of cars nearly parked on I-94 during any commute lately. Ask the kids who had two sled-filled days with no school what they think and they'll tell you there was more to it than engineering failures. This has been a lot of twisted fun in its own way. That's King Boreas.
And if your team is called the Vikings, you better be prepared for Boreas to play with ya.
There are doubters, which can be expected in any sophisticated modern society. "Boreas is just a legend," they'll tell you, "Something that Saint Paul made up to explain what happens every year." But if winter is so predictable, why weren't we ready for it? Why did we have an inflatable roof that can't handle the snow?
It all starts to make sense when you realize the significance of Monday night's football game against the Bears, now to be played at the University of Minnesota. Outdoors. In the cold. In the court of King Boreas, in plain view of all the great Gods of Valhalla. This isn't an ordinary game, this was scheduled to be the big celebration of 50 years of the Minnesota Vikings.
That's right, we're turning back the clock. It's not just about strange looking "throwback" uniforms, it's a death match against the cold.
If you watched last Sunday's game in Chicago you had to see it coming. It was snowing hard but the game went on as if nothing was wrong. The visiting Patriots moved the ball as if there was nothing wrong, with absolutely no assist from the snowplow drivers on the sidelines (not that I hold a grudge for 28 years). It was real football, played the way football is supposed to be played - in conditions meant for Gods, not men.
If Chicago can take it, we can. Can I get an "Amen"?
You may still doubt that this is obviously the work of King Boreas playing with us to see what we do about it. After all, I reported the discovery of King Boreas in Lowertown that I later had to say was just a hoax. But it wasn't a hoax - it was a vision. This is a tough part of the world that knows how to handle hard times with courage and style.
Not the fancy kind of style that loafs around in skyways and indoor stadiums - a style that puts on flannel shirts and knitted hats and gets to work. Doesn't look that great? We don't care what you think, we have work to do. And if our neighbor needs a strong arm with a shovel or maybe a stadium to get through it, we do it.
Monday night might be a lot more than just a football game if we do it up right. Give in to the reign of King Boreas and do it up right. Don't worry that it's open to all the Gods and ESPN to see how ridiculous we look, we look great in our own way. Like any good Viking King, Boreas demands only one thing from us in the end - that we be as tough as our reputation.
Why not? Hard times can't phase us, we've been through worse and will be again. Just wait until the Legislature convenes and tries to figure out what to do with the state budget.