Monday, March 5, 2007

Church for practicing Minnesotans

The funny little man didn't say much. He showed up for work on time, he left on time, he never said much. On the first Wednesday of every March, though, he arrived at work with a large cardboard box. In that box was a 12-inch black and white television with rabbit-ear antennae. He took it out and worried it into place right next to his computer monitor. And at about 11 a.m., the TV set went on and stayed on until late the following Saturday night, after the final championship game of the Minnesota State High School Hockey Tournament had been played.

"This is like church for practicing Minnesotans," he said to anyone who asked, including his boss. "And ever since the league was split into two classes, there's twice as much church to attend."

He didn't watch hockey at any other time, or any other place. And it didn't matter who was playing, from the Warroad Warriors down to the Albert Lea Tigers (Wednesday, 8 p.m.), the Roseau Rams to the Woodbury Royals (Thursday 11 a.m.)

Why didn't he take some PTO, and go see the games right there in the cathedral—the Xcel Energy Center? "You don't get the close-ups when they introduce the cheerleaders and the players," he said. "The flower of youth. It sometimes shrinks in bright light, sometimes it blooms, and sometimes it picks its nose."

What a funny little man.

Minnesota State Boys High School Hockey Tournament, starting Wednesday, March 7

Xcel Energy Center,

KSTC Channels 45 & 12,

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