The sun was still high in the sky as the group entered the TCF Bank Stadium alongside 50,000 other soccer fans on the evening of Sunday, October 21. The Minnesota United were competing against the LA Galaxy in their last home game of the season, and a record breaking number of fans came out to support them. The fans at this game were like no other; people from a wide range of backgrounds came together to support their team, and the energy in the stadium was wild. Additionally, there were many parents with their children, as the game made for an exciting family event for all ages. The stadium was not only made welcoming to all people but was also organized in a way that was accessible – there were many seating options for people with differing mobile abilities, as well as captioning on the screen for all announcers and stadium-wide cheers. Although the game ended with a 3-1 loss for the Minnesota United, our group enjoyed the game and left with smiles on our faces. Attending the game as a fan was a fun introduction to analyzing athletics “off the field.”
Jim Bickal, a Grinnell College alumnus, is the senior producer for Morning Edition on Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) News. MPR, an important news source for many individuals in and outside of the state, works to “enrich the mind and nourish the spirit” of all audiences. Morning Edition, based in St. Paul with hosts from Washington and Los Angeles, brings listeners the news they need to start their day informed of national and international news. The show runs from 4 to 9 a.m. every weekday.
As the senior producer for Morning Edition, Bickal oversees the making of the radio show. He also has published articles through MPR that cover topics ranging from sports to politics. Radio producers often take part in all stages of radio production, needing both creative and technical skills to be successful in the multifaceted role.
In April of this year, Bickal participated in the well-known Minnesota Twins mascot race that takes place between the fourth and fifth innings of every home game. He dressed as Louie the Loon and ran alongside a friend, William Wilcoxen, dressed as Wanda the Walleye. Unfortunately, Biackal pulled his hamstring during the performance and was unable to finish the race.