Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A quick football post

Those of you who know me well are expecting this football post to be gloating about the wonderfully inverse records of our neighboring arch rival NFL teams, an ode to the South Dakota Coyotes, or maybe some comment about Jim Thome being far and away the most popular and productive over 40 pro athlete in the state. I would never do that. Instead it's a short commentary on how much big college and pro football experiences just plain suck compared to D III. This was hamnered home once again by the annual trip to Clemens Stadium to watch St Johns play Concordia.

The sunny fall afternoon began with parking in a remote lot. We got to choose between a half mile walk through the arboretum to the stadium or a bus ride. We took the walk, over the creek and along the lake and meadow. We arrived at the stadium, which is almost as scenic as the arboretum and is the only D III stadium named to SI's top ten dream stadium list. We paid seven bucks (!?) to get in and the VOR got me a really good brat with kraut for $2.50. We had brought our folding chairs since SJU seems to realize that not everyone wants to cram their asses into a 18" wide seat next to the former high school football player that's ballooned up to 375#. We set up in the shade under some red pines and kicked back to watch the game. It went surprisingly fast. No jerk with long orange gloves on the sideline with the power to stop play by crossing his arms for a TV timeout. I wandered to the bathroom after a touchdown, made a quick pit stop, and they had kicked off and ran two plays by the time I got back. In a college division one or pro game we would have only been through 4 of the 8 commercials by then. The VOR, not a huge football fan, headed to the bookstore and manuscript library after the first quarter. She was allowed out of the stadium with no hand stamp, restrictions, or hassle of any kind and returned at half time. Then we took a walk.

Yup, we strolled down on to the field and circumnavigated the game. No security guys telling us it was restricted, no clowns walking around with those big 'special passes' around their necks acting like big shots, and no NFL style paranoia that a fan might get too close to the team. We were right on the sidelines and I was able to get those great shots like only the accredited photographers get in the big time games. The guys in the image below are just regular guys that found a great place to plop down and watch some football.

The kids in the next image are waiting for the extra point to be kicked. They catch the ball since there is no big net to keep the ball away from the riff raff, and then the lucky kid that caught it runs it back to the ref. Imagine that.

Plus I wasn't forced to listen to the innane 'cover 2', 'wildcat formation', 'empty backfield' BS that's all over any football broadcast. And no replay or replay officials! No video of some sap staring into a TV monitor with a hood over him, to see if him and his crew FU'ed on the call. The game was completed in just over two hours. I bought another dessert brat and we headed home.

The next day was another glorious fall day, a beautiful Sunday. I loaded up the boats and met the VOR and the IrishPirate on Square Lake, the clearest lake in the metro area and site of Square Lake Regional Park. Other than a group of scuba divers (yeah, its that clear) we were the only ones there. The only people at Square Lake Regional Park. One guy was fishing and a pontoon made a slow sweep as we left but that was it. I can only imagine people with their asses glued to the hard blue seats at the Metrodome or their Lazy Boy at home, 'angsting' over the Purple and their veteran quarterback that didn't need to go to training camp, as they choked against the Miami Dolphins. We paddled a bit, I tipped over a few times, and I didn't know whether to be happy that we had that beautiful lake to ourselves or sad that so many pathetic humanoids were watching pro football. I do know that I'll be heading north for a paddle trip with the VOR and the Mayor this weekend, and can only hope that the first come/first serve campsites on Lake Vermillion are typically favored by NFL fans. I really enjoy the seclusion.

No comments: