I have always loved college football. Doesn’t matter what level. As a matter of fact, I like college football better than watching the NFL. I was at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City Saturday with 70,000 other people watching the Gophers battle the Hawkeyes in a Big Ten rivalry for a pig trophy
Last Sunday my son Joshua texted me and asked me if I wanted to go to the Gopher football game in Iowa Saturday. He scored some great tickets on Stub Hub, section 137 in the 1st row behind the goal posts. I looked at my wife and asked her if we were doing anything next Saturday? She answered no. I was relieved that we didn’t have anything planned because I really wanted to go to the game. I said yes to my son.
My son Joshua and I left St. Cloud Friday around 5pm and arrived in Albert Lea at our motel around 8pm. We left the Econo Lodge about 7 Saturday morning and headed for Iowa City. We stopped in Clear Lake Iowa at Perkins for breakfast and met up with Jon Tofte, Josh’s brother in law for breakfast. John and Julie live in Mason City. It was nice to visit with him. We then drove to our destination, the University of Iowa.
We arrived at Kinnick stadium around 11am. There are many parking lots around the stadium. Josh had signed us up to tailgate with other Gopher fans at the baseball stadium just up the street from Kinnick stadium. For $50 you get entrance to the baseball stadium and all the beverages and food you want. The buffet was amazing. Goldy and the Gopher cheer team showed up and Josh and I got a picture with Goldy the Gopher. It was a great atmosphere with music and University of Minnesota cheers.
We were outside of the stadium walking to our gate when all of a sudden I recognized a friendly face walking towards me. It was Marshall radio sports broadcaster Anthony Rolhik. Anthony and I have become friends covering high school sports and seeing each other often in gyms. We were both shocked to see each other. The Saturday before both of us had been at the Excel Energy Center in St. Paul covering the Minneota Vikings volleyball team at state.
When we found our seats, I was absolutely ecstatic about our view. Front row, behind the goal posts! I couldn’t stop smiling. The Gophers were warming up right in front of us. Everything was so close. I was hoping all the action would be on our side of the field. Then of course, most of the people sitting around us are wearing black and were Hawkeyes fans. The fun bantering back and forth was constant the whole game.
Some guy behind us was constantly making fun of our Minnesota accent, talking to us like we were in the movie Fargo. He was pretty annoying. I could also do without all the vulgar language that people seem to think is cute. The Hawkeye lady sitting next to Josh decided to throw up in the 3rd quarter. She just sat in her seat and let it hurl. I went to the bathroom and the men’s line was super long and I realized why, they only had a dozen urinals for thousands of guys to use. That wasn’t good planning when building the stadium.
I witnessed a pretty neat tradition that the fans do during the game. Across the street from Kinnick Stadium is a children’s hospital. The hospital has many floors and is much taller than the stadium. So during a break in the game the fans all turn to face the Childrens Hospital and wave at all the kids and staff that are looking out the windows watching the game. It’s called the Iowa Wave. It’s a pretty special moment. Hats off to the Gopher players and coaches as they waved to the kids too.
The Gophers didn’t win and Iowa got to keep Floyd of Rosedale pig trophy. When the game ended Iowa fans stormed the field and celebrated. People were pushing by us to get on the field it was quite the scene. Our walk back to our car from the stadium was about a mile and some of it was uphill, so my heart pacemaker got a workout.
We drove all the way back to St. Cloud that night and arrived back at Josh’s house around 130 in the morning. It is all four lane and not a bad drive, good bonding time with my oldest son. I told Josh let’s go back to Iowa again. Saturdays were made for fun and my Saturday was a lot of fun.