On Sunday we departed for Minneapolis to commence our Off the Field fall break study tour. The first activity took us by light rail to the TCF Bank Stadium where we watched the Minnesota United take on the Los Angeles Galaxy in a professional soccer game. After the game, we met up with alumni from the Twin Cities area at Annie’s Parlour in Dinkytown for dinner.
Monday began with a visit to the Humphrey School of Public Policy to meet up with Art Rolnick and discuss stadium finance. Afterwards, the group grabbed lunch with Sarah Shives ’97 to talk about her work as a production manager for international arts and sports events in that have included the Sochi 2014 Olympic and Paralympic games ceremonies and entertainment for Super Bowl 52. We finished off the afternoon touring the Walker Art Center and Sculpture Garden before catching a Minnesota Timberwolves game in the evening.
On Tuesday, we spent the morning visiting the development office of Cretin-Derham Hall, a private high school that has drawn upon the influence of high profile sports and athletes in their fundraising and development efforts. We then spent the afternoon touring U.S. Bank Stadium, the home stadium of the Minnesota Vikings. Dinner was spent discussing sports and public discourse with the digital sports editor of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Howard Sinker and senior producer at Minnesota Public Radio News, Jim Bickal ’82.
The tour came to a close after a full day Wednesday. We started out visiting the Brain Injury Research Lab in Hennepin County Medical center where we discussed the role sports play in causing traumatic brain injuries with Dr. Daniel Rafter. Next, we met up with the mayor of Minneapolis, Jacob Frey, to hear his approach to sports in Minneapolis in his role as mayor. Our final visit was with Dave St. Peter, the CEO of the Minnesota Twins, who explained the economics of ballparks and the impact the Twins have had in the Twin Cities community. After a busy few days, we made our way back to Grinnell to rest and reflect on the tour.