We all have our favorite athletes. And whether it’s Joe Mauer going 3-for-4 with 2 RBIs at Target Field, Lindsay Whalen hitting a buzzer-beater at the Target Center or Adrian Peterson rushing for 150 yards at the Metrodome, all fans — kids and adults alike — wonder what it must feel like to perform in front of crowds of people on such a big stage.
One lucky and talented Northfield boy is getting that chance.
Finn Muir, a member of the 7th-grade boys’ basketball team, who also toys around with hip hop dance in his spare time, is now a part of ‘The Pups,’ the new Junior Hip Hop Squad of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“The Pups” is one of five Timberwolves entertainment teams that perform during games at Target Center, according to Athenia Elie, the dance and performance manager for the both the Timberwolves and the Lynx.
“We try to keep kids involved,” said Elie. “It’s a great outlet for them.”
The team, which is made up of kids between the ages of 7 and 13, had its first performance on Feb. 1 during the break between the first and second quarter of the Timberwolves’ game against the Lakers.
“It was awesome,” said Muir. “There were lots of people there.”
After seeing an advertisement in a Timberwolves flier, Muir auditioned with 51 other kids in December, hoping for a spot on the squad. He was thrilled after finding out about making the team.
But as a frequent competitor and winner of multiple hip hop dance competitions at the middle school, Muir is no stranger to the spotlight.
“I don’t really get stage fright,” said Muir. “I was more pumped than nervous.”
In addition to the opportunity to show his moves in front of thousands of people, there are other perks to this gig. Muir gets to brush shoulders with professional athletes, including three of his favorite Timberwolves players: Ricky Rubio, Derrick Williams and Alexey Shved.
Though he has yet to speak with any of the players, Muir admitted that if he had the chance to talk to Ricky Rubio, “I’d probably ask him if he can dunk,” since he can’t recall ever seeing him do it in a game.
With his next performance on Feb. 24 and two more following in March and April, Finn might just get the chance to talk to one of his favorite professional athletes. And even if he doesn’t, Elie notes, “being on the court is a great experience in itself.”
Erin O’Neill is an intern for the Northfield News. She can be reached at 507-645-1106.
Erin O'Neill is an intern for the Northfield News. She can be reached at 507-645-1106.