Super Bowl at Minus 10? Bold North Says Bring It On
What to do when it's 10 below at the Super Bowl? Go on a zipline over the Mississippi River, of course, as these hardy souls did.
Since the largest franchise of them all—the National Football League—is in Minneapolis, also the world headquarters of Franchise Times, I’ve been talking with sources all week who have the same question: What in the world do people do when the Super Bowl will take place on a day forecast to be 10 degrees below overnight with a high of big fat zero on February 4 itself? So let me explain.
First, we ride a zipline over the Mississippi River. Among the 10,000 tickets sold to the attraction, built especially for the Super Bowl, 4,000 were gone within 36 hours in December, according to the Pioneer Press. The other 6,000 spots were scooped up within six minutes on Jan. 10, at $30 a pop for the 800-foot, 30-second ride.
We try out the 200-foot snow bridge that was built spanning 8th to 10th streets, more than 14 feet tall and 24 feet wide on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis (that’s pronounced with a hard ‘t’ at the end, not the fancy French way. This is Minnesota, after all.) People can try skiing, fat-tire biking and skijoring, otherwise known as being pulled by dogs on skis.
We volunteer in masses to help out with the Super Bowl, and then actually show up. I know because my husband is one of the 10,000 volunteers selected, who applied online along with 20,000 others, went to an in-person interview and then two separate training sessions, received major swag in the form of bright aqua blue outer shell, bright aqua blue inner down jacket, purple and aqua blue crew shirt, purple backpack and more, not to mention purple knit mittens that say “Bold North,” one word on each palm. (Perhaps the distinctive colors, like those of bridesmaid dresses, are to ensure one can never wear the outfits in public again.)
Word is that in San Francisco, the attrition rate for Super Bowl volunteers-to-actual volunteering was 40 percent. Minneapolis planned for 20 percent attrition, the host committee said, but the actual attrition rate was 5 percent, even after all that swag was handed out. The cold gives people a mighty work ethic up North, or so the story goes.
Of course our biggest activity this week is hating on the Philly Eagles, who handed the Minnesota Vikings a humiliating yet familiar defeat in the NFC conference championship game. I had screamed my head off the week before in person at U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Super Bowl, when the “Minneapolis Miracle” had Case Keenum heaving a pass to Stefon Diggs with 10 seconds remaining and no timeouts, and Diggs making a touchdown to beat the Saints. Grown men and women rolled around on the turf, high fived, cried, danced, etc., and I was deaf for three days.
One week later I was in a bar in Colorado, sinking into despair as the Phillies threw beer cans at Vikings fans, reportedly harassed Vikings QB Keenum’s family in the stands, and mocked the mighty Vikings “skol” chant, by replacing the word ‘skol’ with ‘Foles’ (the Philly QB) while clapping their hands with straight arms robotically overhead. (I swear it looks cool in Minneapolis.) And of course winning the game.
Yes, we think they’re horrible, but as one Minneapolis volunteer told the Star Tribune, his pastor said in church last Sunday that he had to be nice to the Philly fans, but he didn’t have to mean it. And then a Philly fan who lives in Minneapolis wrote in an op-ed: “If there’s anything the Vikings and Eagles fans should agree on, it’s that the Patriots—and their fans—are the absolute worst.”
From your host city in the Bold North, enjoy the game.