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It's NICE to be from Minnesota.
August 24, 2008 - Per Peterson
Minnesota Nice is alive and well. That means something coming from me. I’m not big on the whole phenomenon, but after spending some time in downtown Minneapolis Saturday night, I will admit, there might be something to it. I took my kids to the Vikings-Steelers game that night and saw both the good and bad in people. First, the good: The festivities surrounding a Vikings game go beyond what happens inside the Dome, it also spills out onto the streets and the surrounding blocks around the Dome. There’s a lot going on on game days, and with all the commotion, there are also thousands and thousands of people crammed into a four-block area. Some of those people are homeless. These aren’t your average, run-of-the-mill homeless people — these guys actually advertise, with small, homemade billboards made of cardboard that they hold on their laps — just in case we don’t get the hint, in case the torn clothes and dirty faces aren’t enough to sell it. Don’t take this the wrong way (there’s no good way to say this) but I hope they really are homeless, not just scammers looking to make some extra bucks. That may sound creepy, but there are people out there who do such things, and if posing as a homeless person can make you money, some people I’ve heard actually do pretend to be. But that’s another story. This story is about fans dressed in Viking purple giving a few bucks to the less fortunate. I saw four or five purple-clad fans that night give up a few bucks to homeless people sitting on the sidewalks. That’s nice … no wait, that’s MINNESOTA Nice to see. Now the bad: I also saw a large number of fans dressed in black and gold (Steelers colors) who walked by, looked the other way, and even insulted these homeless people. One criticized an old, homeless man for using the game as a means to broaden his clientele. “Business must be good on game nights,” the man wearing a Ben Roethlisberger jersey yukked to his friend. Gross. I also witnessed a shouting match between two Steelers fans about a block away from the Dome. I have no idea what they were arguing about, as they were both obvious Steelers fans, but going by the number of F-bombs that were cascading down upon our ears, I assumed it had to do with something beyond who was tougher, Mean Joe Greene or Jack Lambert. They were practically at each other’s throats. Oh well, I guess there might just be something to the whole Minnesota Nice theory — not a lot, but something. At the very least, it’s something to be proud of. I suppose if we want to believe we really are genuinely nicer than out-of-staters, we can. Or maybe out-of-staters are just meaner and more cynical than we are.
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