Sports have often served as a distraction from the literal hellscape that we live in, the littlest bit of reprieve from the otherwise unmitigated disaster that is my life and the lives of everyone around me. Of course, the only way that sports actually work as a serotonin substitute is if your team is doing well, and unfortunately for Minnesota sports fans, that cannot be said.
Let’s start with college teams. Yes, University of Minnesota athletics have not always been the best, and certainly have not been the class of the Big 10 in recent memory, but they’ve been serviceable in recent years, giving fans some hope that great things are in store for the future. Surely, in this era of uncertainty and misery, Golden Gopher athletics can muster at least serviceable seasons to give fans something to be happy about.
University of Minnesota Basketball was an abject disaster for both the men’s and women’s teams. The men went 14-15 on the season, racking up a respectable 13-4 home record, but an abysmal 0-10 away record. Ultimately, the team flopped out of the Big 10 Tournament in the second round, losing to Ohio State 75-79. The women’s team did not fare much better, finishing the season with a 7-11 record, and exiting the Big 10 tournament in the first round following a 51-72 loss to Nebraska.
While not nearly as horrible as the basketball teams, the University of Minnesota’s football team had a less than stellar season as well. In a COVID-19 shortened year, the Golden Gophers went 3-4, only managing wins over lowly teams like Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska. This is particularly disappointing considering that the same team finished the 2019 season ranked 18th in the country and with a record of 11-2.
But of course the professional teams will come through for us, right? After all, since Minnesota has a long history of professional prowess in sports, surely they’ll have some success. Once again, nope.
The Minnesota Vikings of the NFL had a disappointing 2020-2021 season. Finishing 7-9, their worst season since 2013, the Vikings are stuck in the equivalent of football purgatory. They are neither good enough to make a significant playoff run, nor are they bad enough to select one of the top college prospects in the NFL draft. Something needs to change, and change soon, lest they be trapped in the doldrums of mediocrity.
The ineptitude of the Vikings is mirrored and magnified tenfold by their brothers in the NBA, the Minnesota Timberwolves. Despite boasting stars like D’Angelo Russell and Karl Anthony-Towns on its roster, the Timberwolves are mathematically the worst team in the league. With a record of 13-40, not only does Minnesota sit at the bottom of the Western Conference, but at the bottom of the entire league, with the next worst team having three more wins than them. The only upside to this is that maybe they’ll get the first pick in the upcoming draft, but even that is no guarantee.
It’s really too early to say anything about the Minnesota Twins, considering that their season just started, but things are already not looking good. After nine games, Minnesota has a 5-4 record, but the losses have come to historically terrible teams like the Seattle Mariners and the Detroit Tigers. Perhaps I am being overly pessimistic, but I already do not have high hopes for the season.
Really, the only bright spot in Minnesota sports comes from the Wild, and even they are not doing too hot. Despite boasting a relatively impressive 40-24 record, they are only third in their division, behind both the Los Vegas Golden Knights and the Colorado Avalanche.
Minnesota sports are just sad at the moment. Luckily, we have the legendary St. Olaf athletics teams to keep us occupied.