The countdown is on for the Metrodome. The clock is inexorably ticking down to zero. Over the next couple of weeks, you will witness many people sharing happy memories of the landscape bubble that served as home for the Vikings over the last 30 years. The All-Metrodome team will be honored Sunday in the next-to-last game in the facility.
During the ceremony there likely will be some acknowledgement of those who witnessed all those memories that the team being honored provided. Too many teams have laid claim to the title "The 12th Man" to add the Vikings to that list, but the one aspect of playing in the Metrodome that made it so uncomfortable for the opposition was that deafening noise made by those attending.
The reality of the world as we know it is that, when you take a look at the hardest of hard-core Vikings fans – those who go all out to make the most of the experience – they're not the pinky ring and gaudy Kentucky Derby-style hat crowd. They drink beer from cans. They've been known to occasionally live check to check. They give up something to make sure they can attend games.
As the clock continues ticking, we're going to be inundated with sappy stories about the end of the Metrodome. Some local TV station will set it to music – hopefully they will be creative enough not to go with a Green Day song that talks about hoping you had the time of your life (the actual title is "Good Riddance," so the irony would be deep). But the focus of all the attention on the last gasp of the Metrodome will be on those who displayed their craft on the floor of the building. There should be a nod of lid to those who were at varying degrees of height in the building.
Opposing teams complained over the years that noise was piped into the Metrodome because human beings can't make that much of a din. Conveniently placed speakers aside, it was the fans that brought the noise. The Metrodome became one of the first stadiums in which sideline reporters got their hands on decibel meters. Now it's a competition. Metrodome fans made old-time noise when it wasn't trendy. They set the bar others felt obliged to try to surpass.
A lot of memories were made under the Teflon roof – as well as its replacement after the original brought snow indoors – but the memories of the crowd are different from the players on the field. Those who opted out of a summer "stay-cation" so they could work renewing their season tickets into the family budget are those who should be given their props along with the All-Mall of America Field team. They made the Metrodome "The Unfriendly Confines."
The old hump has only two dates left as the home of the Vikings. When they honor those players and coaches who made the franchise what it was during the Metrodome's history, hopefully a nod will be given to those who have given many of those players a form of hearing loss. That, too, is an occupational hazard of being a Viking in the Metrodome era.
It may sound like "cheap pop" – like when a lead singer says, "There ain't no party like a (FILL IN CITY) party, 'cuz a (FILL IN CITY) party don't stop!" – but the end of the Metrodome era will be much like the end of Metropolitan Stadium. A certain percentage of the fans will get priced out of the season ticket market. But they will have their memories and, along with the players who gave their blood and sweat to entertain them, and their contribution to making the Metrodome a bad place for opponents to visit should be acknowledged.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
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