When the Super Bowl Host Committee started asking for 10,000 volunteers to greet fans at the airport and direct crowds through the skyways, we wondered why anyone would donate their energy to the NFL, which generates $14 billion a year and and can easily afford to pay them.
The gig included a rigorous application process, orientation, role training, and at least three shifts of four to six hours each, with no chance of getting a peek inside the stadium on gameday.
Yet Minnesotans did show up in droves, happy to serve and determined to impress upon out-of-towners that “Minnesota Nice” is something that can be taken at face value.
They said they wanted to be a part of something historic, they didn’t feel like couch-surfing away the biggest party in America, and they suspected they were put on God’s green Earth with an exceptional sense of navigation for a reason.
All power to them.
Besides, they didn’t walk away empty-handed. Each “Crew 52” volunteer got a winter gear package including a backpack, coffee mug, athletic shirts, a puffy jacket, heavy parka, knit hat, scarf, and Bold North mittens – souvenirs that are now going for hundreds of dollars online.
They’ve been modeling them all over downtown, so if you felt yourself inexplicably attracted to this blue and purple swag, you can get your own set on Craigslist, from $50 for a hat to $500 for a puffy jacket. Offers on Ebay include a $10 lanyard, $20 pin, $100 backpack, and plenty of full collections for $200-$500.
It's mostly used stuff, but they're also limited-edition items that will never be stocked in stores. And they're Minnesota winter-resistant.