Newspaper article

'Super-Bummed' Chris Kluwe's Farewell: 'I'll Never Forget Feeling Minnesota'

Newspaper article

'Super-Bummed' Chris Kluwe's Farewell: 'I'll Never Forget Feeling Minnesota'

Article excerpt

Greetings, Minnesotans! We had some good times together over the years, some fun memories, and I'm super-bummed out about having to leave the state.

When I first arrived in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, I walked out of the airport to a beat-up waiting Expedition with absolutely no idea what was in store for me.

I had just come from my rookie preseason in Seattle, where I thought I was going to be on the practice squad, and instead was informed I would be Minnesota's starting punter going into Week One of the regular season.

I didn't know anyone on the team. I didn't know where anything was located. I didn't even know who my coaches were, or that being claimed off waivers was actually a thing. The only thing I knew was that this was my chance, and I tried to make the most of it.

Eight and a half years later, I knew my coaches. I knew my teammates. I knew how to get around downtown Minneapolis, when to avoid the 35W/94 exchange, where to go for sushi, and Thai food, and steaks.

I knew friends, where they lived, what they liked to do, when we could hang out in between the busy days of the football season.

I knew that the hot summer thunderstorm months of June and July would gradually cool down to August's brisk air, the leaves changing color as geese started appearing overhead. I knew that October and November would bring their puffy gray clouds, their flurries of snow, their cold mornings with delicate traceries of frost outlining each individual grass blade.

I knew that winter would come, and it wouldn't leave for a while - - the dreary months of January and February with the wind whipping through until I could feel my nose hairs freezing the instant I went outside and took a breath. The piled snowbanks that only seemed to grow larger, the stamping of boots anytime I had to go somewhere, the warmth of a lighted kitchen while muffled flakes gently drifted out of a dark sky.

I knew that the snow eventually did go away, even if it seemed to take forever, and that the muddy months of March and April would eventually break forth into thick green growth as the sun finally reappeared up above. I knew that these were actual seasons, so different than the eternal sunshine of Southern California, the place where I grew up and went to school. …

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