Paycheck has restored Minnesota pride

WORTHINGTON — Minnesota pride has been restored.

With the Twins on track for a 100-loss season, the Vikings off to an 0-2 start after a pair of abysmal second halves and the Gophers losing football games to powerhouse teams such as New Mexico State, there has been little to cheer for recently in the Minnesota sports landscape.

At least that was the case before Saturday.

In a little over 27 seconds, Minnesota sports fans were finally given something to cheer about.

True, Paycheck’s victory against Ruby Begonia in King Turkey Day’s Great Gobbler Gallop didn’t draw quite as many viewers as the average Vikings game, but with the Minnesota sports-scape in a state of despair, our little turkey gave us an unforgettable performance.

According to sources available on the day, Paycheck ran the second fastest recorded time in the history of the event.

Although the head-to-head matchup won’t officially end until the pair of turkeys square off again at Turkey Fest in Cuero, Texas, Paycheck’s lead of well over three minutes should be a safe bet to hold up for the overall title.

Paycheck has been so fast over the past two years that it almost hasn’t been fair.

Spectators who eagerly anticipate the race throughout the year have only seen Paycheck in full racing action for a total on one minute and four seconds over the past two years combined after Paycheck’s winning time of 37 seconds in last year’s Great Gobbler Gallop.

It’s ironic that Paycheck can achieve glory for the state of Minnesota in 27 seconds, whereas it has taken an agonizing 154 games so far for the 2011 Twins to sink the state to the bottom of the ranks of baseball respectability.

Although Paycheck’s victory probably hasn’t resonated much further than Worthington and the immediate surrounding area (unless Liz Collin made mention of it on a WCCO newscast, which I unfortunately forgot to check out), perhaps Worthington’s victory will spread throughout the state.

It wouldn’t be the first time something has started in Worthington and had a state-wide impact. Our current governor is the descendant of a famous Worthington resident (the same man who lends his name to the historic Dayton House), and in Matt Entenza we had another candidate in the last gubernatorial election that actually hailed from the city.

Also, Mayor Al Oberloh — apart from being known for having perhaps the biggest beard of any mayor of any town in history — has risen to state-wide prominence as the president of the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities.

Already in the wake of Paycheck’s victory we have seen the Minnesota Lynx win their first ever playoff series, which may lead to the state’s first championship in a professional sport since the 1991 Twins won the World Series.

OK, the Lynx were good even before Paycheck’s victory, but who’s to say that the team didn’t catch wind of Saturday’s race and use it as inspiration to gain the edge against the Silver Stars in Tuesday’s elimination game?

I won’t go so far as to say that Paycheck’s victory will have any effect on the Vikings righting their ship (after all, their most recent collapse came one day after the race) or will prevent the Twins from finishing the season with an 18-game losing streak, but at least we can be proud knowing that Minnesota sports have at least one thing to be proud of in an otherwise very bleak period of the state’s sports history.

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