Who the heck is this WHENESOTA guy?
A little about me…
I’m a life-long Minnesotan and sports fan. Some of my earliest sports memories are collecting baseball cards and memorabilia with my father. My favorite team is the Vikings, but growing up I attended all sorts of sporting events: Twins, North Stars, Strikers, Timberwolves, Saints and now the Loons as well. I attended both NDSU and the U of M (and Macalester, Hamline and Inver Hills). I am a teacher, coach, husband, father, computer nerd, movie and TV junkie.
A little about the film…
WHEN-ESOTA? is a film about how hard it is to be a Minnesota sports fan and why bad things keep happening to us. It’s about why our teams keep disappointing us and why we keep coming back for more. It’s about covering our eyes when our kickers line up for a field goal. It's about how we get that 'here we go again' feeling when our team starts to blow a lead. It’s about not even being able to enjoy some of the good things that happen because the fatalist inside won’t allow it.
In all honesty, the project started out as a joke. It was intended to make my friends laugh, but each day it turns into something more. One night I was watching the ESPN documentary ‘Believeland’, which is about Cleveland, their sports teams and all the bad things that have happened to them over the years. The film was directed by Andy Billman, who is a long time Cleveland sports fan and sufferer. For every event Billman used to depict how tortured Cleveland fans are, I could think of a similar and sometimes worse event that happened in Minnesota. For example, at one point in the film Billman talks about how former Cavaliers owner Ted Stepian traded away all their draft picks. Um..excuse me. Herschel Walker?
Originally, I wrote a letter to Mr. Billman. I tried to reach out to him on Twitter, but he didn’t respond. I don't blame him for not responding. I'm sure he gets bothered by people like me all the time. But that letter turned into the film WHEN-ESOTA?
In the summer of 2018, I started writing and planning the film. I reached out to some of my favorite Minnesota musicians and sought permission to use their music in the draft version. What’s more Minnesotan, than including those we consider ‘one of us’?
It took most of the summer, but I put together a rough draft that was about 40 minutes long. I am constantly changing and editing it. I already have plans to make additional story changes this summer. It’s a work in progress. I’ve often joked, either the Vikings win a Superbowl or each year I get more material for the film. Regardless of how the direction of the story ends up, it’s the idea that’s most important. So last October we applied for and were granted the copyright and we are currently in the Trademark application process. (UPDATE: The Full version of the draft is on You Tube - 1 Hour 7 minutes)
I’m NOT looking to make money off the film. It would be nice, and I wouldn’t turn it down, but I’ll be just as happy retiring as a teacher. The current version of the film is a draft. I don’t own the copyrights to the photos and videos I would like to use. Therefore, we’re trying to build a social media following to draw attention to the film and possibly get it published. In doing so, we’ve discovered that there are a lot of other WHEN-ESOTAN’s out there.
Lastly, I understand not everyone appreciates sarcasm or negativity. Of course we want our teams to be successful. But Minnesota sports fans have had their hearts broken too many times. At some point you have to take a step back and see the ridiculousness in all of it. We choose to laugh about our pain rather than wallow in it. Tragedy and comedy go hand in hand. It may be uncomfortable at times, but look at it this way: At the end of Andy Billman's film, Cleveland wins the NBA title, putting an end to their championship drought and temporarily ending their streak of bad luck. It's my hope that WHEN-ESOTA? can help exorcise our demons and do the same for us.
A little about the blog…
In college, I wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper. I had freedom to write about whatever I wanted and I really enjoyed it. In the middle of planning the film last summer, I visited a college buddy in Phoenix who is a musician, writer and business owner. He suggested I start writing again and use that to get people to see what the film is about. When I returned home, I started a blog and created a few social media accounts. I had never used social media before this. Not even Facebook. Not kidding. This was my first time.
Let me be clear about this. I am NOT media. I have no intention of becoming media. I’m also not one of those people who knows where every player is from, memorizes the entire depth chart or knows every stat for every player. I think its great that those people exist. But I just don't care how many strikeouts that pitcher had last year. I really only care that he just gave up 6 runs in the 1st inning. You can break down how defensive schemes work? Great. The Vikings just blew a big lead.
The point is I’m a fan. My takes – are fan takes and from a fan’s perspective, not a media perspective or even an analyst’s perspective. Yes, I have a basic understanding of X's and O's from 20+ years coaching. But, I react to what I see like a fan reacts. There are already too many people out there in the Twitter-verse that want to break down match-ups and do mock drafts etc. I am NOT one of those people. I want to make this very clear because this film is for the fans, about the fans and how tortured we are. Besides, I’m not sure I could ever be media. They work way harder than I do. Plus, I fall asleep during too many games.
To all of you who have contributed to this project with your love, friendship, encouragement, music, following, retweets, likes, interaction, and advice: Thank you for your continued support. You have no idea how much it means to me. I am a loyal person and I don’t forget those kinds of things.
A little bit more...
I often retweet things from those who have supported us, so please support them as well. Thanks Tim Mahoney, GB Leighton, The Billy’s, Tina Schlieske, Michael Shynes, and NUR-D.
If your profile says anything about being a Minnesota sports sufferer I most likely will follow you back.
Also, sports and entertainment go hand in hand. I might be guilty of tweeting about TV and movies from time to time as well.