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Appreciating Minnesota Football || B1G 2018

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Grab a cup of coffee, a couple more bars, and prepare to make pleasant conversation about the Gophers.

Illinois v Minnesota Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

That’s about the end of Minnesota Week. Well, I suppose...

...oh, I’m sorry. I forget that we have a lot of non-Minnesotans reading this blog. You see, when a Minnesotan says “Well, I suppose...” and trails off, they’re looking for an excuse to leave whatever social engagement they’re a part of. This is part of a lengthy process we call the “Minnesota Goodbye.”

The Minnesota Goodbye is one of my favorite things about this state. Nothing from a social gathering is ever quite officially over, and in today’s day and age of cellphones and instant communication, the Minnesota Goodbye can extend into a number of texts or awkward posts on your Facebook wall from your great aunt, who forgot to mention she has a scrapbook of you running around without pants on at the farm when you were two.

It’s one of the things I admire the most about my people—their complete inability to let go of something that’s been over for minutes, hours, or 56 years. The ability to take a rollicking good time and, twenty-two-and-a-half minutes later, have turned the affair into one marked by awkward standing around and half-hugs with people you barely know.

I wasn’t strong enough, as a fan, to stick that out with Minnesota football.

That might not seem a compliment to the non-Minnesotans among us, but there’s a pride that comes with Minnesotans’ ability to tolerate sporting incompetence for, well, anywhere from 27 seasons to an entire lifespan.

The Minnesota Golden Gophers, though, are reversing that trend.

PJ Fleck’s got the Gophers rowing, united, with one purpose. They are committed to being elite members of the community, and committed to being elite academically, athletically, spiritually, and socially. The wins are coming in a matter of time now, as they’ve recruited a large man from overseas to play the offensive line, are probably winning recruiting battles for in-state talent, and should right the ship against the UMPD during their September matchup. It’s good to be a Gopher again across the Land of Sky-Tinted Waters.

Across the state, people are being reminded of the good things that come to those who wait. Sure, there was a blizzard on April 14—the first actual blizzard recorded in both of the Twin Cities in 35 years—but it’s given way to lush greenery, 70-degree temps, gorgeous sunsets, and everything that living in Minnesota promises.

And that’s what PJ Fleck offers—much in the same way coal jobs are coming back in a big way, the Anthracite and Gold charging onto TCF Bank Stadium’s field this fall are one stroke of the post, one pepper in a pot of hot chili, one dazzling smile closer than ever to returning Gopher football to that glory.

Well, Pasadena’s calling. I suppose...