Gopher Football: How Suite It Was!

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The latest adventure of “You Can’t Make Up This Stuff (or The Life and Trying Times of an Older Person).” Plans for going to the Gopher football game Saturday included picking up Ken Howell and his neighbor at 7:00 am. I let the driver, the Supervisor, sleep in until the last minute because she had just been down to the Cities the day before. So, we were in a bit of a rush. We were on the way from the west side of Lake Darling to the east side of Lake Geneva, i.e., halfway to the Cities, when the Super asked, “Do you have the tickets?” To which I responded, “No, don’t you?” A U-turn in front of an onrushing pack of joggers to retrieve our ducats. On to the Howells, where I knew Ken was battling the onset of a cold – I figured we could just put a paper bag over his head for the trip down and back. But when we got there we discovered his friend’s wife was also battling the disease so he was likely a carrier – they decided they should drive down separately. Now Ken was going to direct us to his usual method of game-going which was to park at the downtown Target fargo6Center ramp and take the Green Line to the football stadium. Well, this is something the Super and I decided we didn’t want to try for the first time without an experienced guide. But we thought we’d still get there early enough to be able to park at the Dinkytown ramp we usually use for hockey games and walk to the stadium. We didn’t get more than a half mile past the Howells when our low tire pressure indicator came on. This has been on ongoing issue for some time, but only about every three months or so (so we forget about it) . . . and always at the start of a long trip! Rather than trying to deal with it along the way, we decided to go back home and take the Super’s car instead – there were now only two of us and we could change from 24 mpg to 48 mpg. Off again, now a half hour late. Despite all the horror stories we have heard about travel to and into the Cites lately (including the Super’s the day before), we somehow had the easiest trip down there ever! It was exactly two hours from our house (6 miles north of I-94) to the parking ramp in Dinkytown. I couldn’t believe it? But, of course, our ramp was permit parking only for events! Oy! Now what? We drove around looking for parking but every lot within a 50-mile radius of the stadium was permit parking only. Then the Super had a brain storm – how about the ramp next to The Commons on Washington Avenue. That has to be open because provides parking for the hotel guests. It was! And just a short walk to the stadium!

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[With a Sis-boom-ah, and a Ski-U-Mah.]

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gopher15-4Continuing our football story, I must point out I am not a fan. I gave up fandom years ago when it stopped being a sport and became a commercial endeavor. But I was forced to go – first, because the Alumni Association gave us free tickets, and b) once he learned of that, Tom Anderson invited us to join him in the Board of Regents Suite. Now the game itself was one of a series of “3-and-outs,” meaning there were a lot of punts, and with each change of possession an opportunity for about 15 minutes of commercials on TV and lots of just standing around on the field. If we had been in the stands, I would have departed for Stub & Herb’s by halftime. But the ambience and hospitality of our setting forced us to remain the entire game.

So people say to me, “How can you prefer hockey, and now even soccer, to the new American (commercial) pastime?  There’s no scoring in those sports!”  Well, I beg to differ. People tend to forget that in football you get 2, 3, 6, 7, or even 8 points for a single score! That’s point inflation!  You only get one point for scoring in hockey or soccer.  A 21-14 score in football is merely equivalent to a 3-2 score in hockey or soccer.  Further, the goal line in football is 160 feet long, with no vertical restrictions – goodness, they should be able to score thousands of points per game!  In hockey the goal is 6-feet wide and 4-feet tall, in soccer the goal is 24-feet wide and 8-feet tall, and in each case there is a full-time defender of that goal.  Now that takes some real skill to score in those sports!  But I digress . . .
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[After our walkabout, we repaired to “our suite” for  view of the campus, the football field, and the bar where the Super immediately discovered the availability of brut champagne!  🙂  ]

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[Spectacular views of downtown Minneapolis and such famous campus landmarks as Willliams Arena and Mariucci Arena.  Did I mention it was a beautiful day?]

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[The view from “our seats,” i.e., bar stools, with I believe our host said a regent in the foreground providing perspective; and the opening kick-off.]

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[Can you spot Ken and Elmer in their seats?]

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[Ho-hum, back to our noshings.  I believe the Super posted these on FB.]

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[Watch a little football . . . ]

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[OK, enough of that . . . back to eating!]

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[A little halftime entertainment introduced us to our national champion dance and women’s hockey teams.]

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[From the Super!]

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[The pep band came into the suite and played the Rouser; Tom introduced us to several of the regents, including his fellow “rookie,” Michael Hsu from Blaine (a Gopher women’s hockey season ticket holder); and a good-bye selfie.  The game was reportedly a sell-out, but a lot of fans came disguised as empty seats (too nice a day for football?).  In the name-dropping category, the first person we ran into in the suite was Dean Johnson, the Chairperson of the Board of Regents.  We had met Dean a few times as he has held several significant positions in the state over the years.  Then we met and chatted with St. Paul mayor Chris Coleman – when the Super told him she was the Douglas County DFL secretary, he said she was his new best friend.  University president Eric Kaler was in the room but was always surrounded by a group of people so we didn’t get a chance to meet him.  I may have missed others because I was too busy concentrating on the . . . oh yeah, football game?  The Gophers won 10 – 7, but we were 24-point favorites.  The natives got restless toward the end of the game and started booing Ole Jer.  Not fair to guy who has turned this program around.  But as the game wound down, it seemed like our 2-yard plunges into the line were just designed to get our defense back on the field.  The defense played great, holding the Golden Flashes to 142 total yards.  But our offense is pretty banged up and doesn’t have a lot of playmakers.]

THANKS AGAIN TO OUR HOST, MR. ANDERSON – WE HAD A GREAT TIME!

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Woman understands children better than man does, but man is more childlike than woman.  ~  Nietzsche

Up next:  Grape Stomp

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