Surviving the North
“… In the blistering cold, shrouded in dark, athletes in the far north battle more than dragons and White Walkers –
Winter itself is the fiercest foe on the field.”
WORDS: TYSON PRINCE
PRODUCER: KATIA DRAGOTIS
Imagine the face on Jon Snow.
His men of loyal Northerners, Dothraki riders, and Unsullied soldiers behind him, marching to meet the Night King… for the right to play in next year’s Super Bowl LIV.
Now imagine that Super Bowl is to be played in the coldest of the northernmost NFL stadiums.
U. S. Bank Stadium.
Minnesota. A state so cold, the White-Walkers would be the least of your worries.
Winter itself would claim the most northmen. Look no further than HBO’s (currently airing) ‘Game of Thrones’ to see for yourself how the fur-clad Stark bastard and his armies handle the winter and its king.
For those of us in the real world, however, winter requires a uniform not too different than that of Snow and House Stark.
Clothes make the man the same as armor makes the warrior. When athletes wrap their wrists and don their helmets, they connect with the gladiators and fighters of ages past. No sports require as much armor for survival as ice hockey and American football. And perhaps no sports teams know a winter as complete as those from the state of Minnesota.
Cornerback Xavier Rhodes was born as far from the reach of winter’s claws as continentally possible. Miami, Florida. Rhodes’ birthplace, where he stayed close to home, earning early battle stripes in the warmer confines of Bobby Bowden Field at Doak S. Campbell Stadium. The former Florida State Seminole left the nest of the ACC and spread his wings when he was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the first round.
Now, Xavier suits up in the deepest north – which suits the nasty ‘Rhodes Closed’ defender just fine. Between the ice water in his veins and his cold-blooded demeanor on the field, Xavier’s hospitality when it comes to opposing quarterbacks is about as frigid as the shores of Lake Minnetonka.
Jason Zucker, the Minnesota Wild’s left-wing was born unto ice. In his early years he took to hockey, playing in Nevada and California until he was 15. In search of a higher level of competition, his family moved the young star to Ann Arbor, Michigan to play for the United States National Team Development Program. From there, he took a short respite in the Rocky Mountains, playing his two collegiate years in Colorado at the University of Denver. For the last eight seasons, Jason has terrorized Minnesotan ice with razor-sharp blades of steel under his feet, and a bitter-cold remorselessness for Wild opponents in his heart.
How does one dress for the subzero months of the American north? Jon Snow’s fur lined boots and heavy capes would no doubt come in handy, but what if we don’t live in the fictional world of George R.R. Martin’s Westeros? What if we live, and sport, in today’s real world, modern age?
And what if we are fashion icons with millions of eyes on us every time we go to work?
Fortunately for us, Xavier and Jason have some words of wisdom, some guiding principles for the modern man braving the coldest cold-fronts Minnesota has to offer.
And, also fortunately, one does not need to have millions of eyes on them for these tips to prove useful.
Sit back and let the pros tell you how to style like a pro.