The State Fair has come and gone, and the kids are back in school. Why is it that around here winter feels like it lasts forever, but summer seems to be here and gone before you know it?
Perhaps the summers around these parts have been even more enjoyable because of the generally overachieving performances of our local sports teams, all of which have remarkably played surprisingly well this season.
Let’s start with Minnesota United: first, Allianz Field opened to rave reviews and sellout crowds, becoming an instant classic in a metro area that is suddenly, and for the first time ever, filled with top-notch sports venues.
But, making the experience at Allianz Field even better has been a somewhat unexpected play from MNUFC. I’m not sure anyone expected the team to make a run at the US Open Cup title, and even though they came up one win short, last Sunday’s league win in L.A. means MNUFC plans on playing well into the fall.
The Minnesota Twins stole most of the spotlight, or should I say sunshine, this summer. Show of hands; who foresaw this team leading the A.L. Central, basically wire-to-wire while setting a Major League record for the number of home runs in a single season?
The team, put together by Thad Levine and Derek Falvey and managed almost flawlessly by first year skipper Rocco Baldelli has had a season that no one could have imagined. There’s still the better part of a month to go, but the Twins look like they too will be playing in October.
Over in St. Paul, the Saints won the North Division of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball, and owned the homefield advantage throughout the playoffs.
In July, the PGA Tour finally made a regular stop in Minnesota with the debut of the 3M Open at the TPC in Blaine.
Then, in August, the boys from Coon Rapids-Andover, along with 2nd baseman/pitcher Maddy Freking, made an appearance at the Little League World Series.
For a solid month we were also forced to cast an eye outside the Land of 10,000 Lakes and to France, where the U.S. Women’s National Team captured our collective hearts and powered its way to winning a fourth World Cup Championship, all while making a compelling case for equal pay.
Yes, it’s been quite a summer. Especially for a place that’s not exactly known for its athletic excellence at the pro level, Minnesota Lynx excepted.
Ah yes, the Lynx! Gee, I almost forgot about them. Somewhat lost in this excess of summer success, is the quiet return to the playoffs by our four-time WNBA Champions.
Are you kidding me? There is NO WAY this team should be in a position to vie for another title, yet here they are.
This is a team that lost beloved point guard Lindsay Whalen to retirement, power forward Rebekkah Brunson to post-concussion issues and Maya Moore, one of the best to ever play the game, decided to take a sabbatical to pursue callings off the court, and forward Seimone Augustus has missed most of the regular season due to a knee injury, leaving only center Sylvia Fowles from the dynasty that ruled the women’s hardcourt for the better part of a decade.
Tell me what team could possibly survive the loss of four starting players in one off-season and return for another shot at winning a title? Maybe only a team assembled and coached by Cheryl Reeve.
With four championship rings and six finals appearances, Reeve doesn’t need any accolades from me, but with that said, to almost completely makeover the entire roster and be back in the hunt for a record 5th WNBA title is nothing less than remarkable. Seriously, who does that?
Haven’t paid attention to the Lynx yet? It’s OK, you’re not alone, and this summer, considering everything else that’s going on around here, you get a pass. But, I highly recommend you check them out before it’s too late. Because like summer, this Lynx season won’t go on forever, and with Cheryl Reeve pulling the strings, you can never count them out.