Guest Post: Jared Linsly on “Sports in the North Country”

Today MontanaWriter is featuring a guest post from Jared Linsly, who has posted here before. An avid baseball fan and transplant to the North Country, Jerry lives in Ramsey County, Minnesota.

Joe Mauer (photo by m.a.h. hinton)

Joe Mauer (photo by m.a.h. hinton)

Although I spent time living in New England many years ago, I’m still taken aback by the  yin/yang seemingly ‘perfect storm’ of hubris and self loathing that permeates the region (at least regarding sports). Perhaps it’s a product of the combination of Calvinism and Irish (predominantly there) Catholicism – you are apparently not allowed to be happy and should feel guilty if you are. Regional history has often been self-fulfilling, despite the recent remarkable successes of the Sox, the Pats, the Celts, and the Bruins. The glasses, mugs, steins, etc. all seem to be half-empty, despite constant refills . I’m sure the weather is also a factor.  It all combines to create what is known snarkily and joyously anti-PC as “Irish Alzheimer’s” – you forget everything but the offenses, slights, insults, etc.

Contrast the relatively newly populated and innocent Twin Cities, where today there is celebration in the well-earned retirement of John Gordon, the excitement of winning the baseball season’s last game to avoid 100 losses (!?!), the cautious hope for the Lynx, the new promise for the Wild, the possibility that the Wolves won’t torment us this season, and relief that so far the University of Minnesota’s traditional and general ineptitude has not killed the new football coach. Maybe we don’t have the weight of accumulated history to guide us (although the Vikings have been consistently demoralizing). Maybe it’s just a matter of time  before we become like the older sections of the country, and ratchet up the bile, envy, and misery. Maybe our standards are lower and/or more realistic. Or maybe we  acknowledge that life is short as it is, and winter is always lurking, so why try to be more miserable than necessary. I am aware of local bitter nay-sayers but they do not seem to be as pervasive here. I’m glad we are not as ‘cutting edge’ in this area.

Looking forward to the playoffs and the Series.

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