Apr 24 2010

Football at TCF Bank Stadium

As we go through the summer, you’ll begin to realize that many of the family things we do in spring and summer are done in rainy weather.  When it’s sunny and dry, my husband is in the field doing farm work, but when it rains, he may be able to take an afternoon, or even a whole day, off.

Rain on Friday evening gave me hope that he’d be able to take the day off today, but, as rarely happens, I was at a loss as to an outing for us.  My husband, however, had an idea:  The Minnesota Gophers were holding a scrimmage at the nearly-new TCF Bank Stadium, and admission was free.  This sounded like the perfect opportunity for the kids to see some sort of college football, and for my husband to check out the stadium.

TCF Bank Stadium

Now, before I go farther, let me explain the family dynamics.  My husband played both basketball and football in high school, and enjoys playing and watching sports.  I was on my high school basketball team, but with only 60 students in grades 7-12, that’s not saying much.  Warm bodies were welcomed, and I was at the far end of the bench, halfway to the next town.  Somehow of all the sports-capability genes in the family, a few went to my sister and the rest to my brother.  I got none of them.  Zero.  Zilch.

So far, our kids haven’t shown much interest in sports, so while their cousins are playing on traveling basketball and baseball teams, our children have joined the youth bowling league and the chess club.  We offered basketball camp as a summer option to our older son, and he chose science camp instead.  It’s just how they tick.

But just as it’s good for an athlete to be well-rounded and attend some concerts and plays and visit some museums, our kids should have some exposure to sports, so we’ve taken them to basketball games and baseball games.  Football we hadn’t managed yet, however.

Thus, today presented the perfect opportunity.

Since rain was forecast, we wore our raincoats as we walked across the U of M campus to find some lunch.  We landed at Burger King, near the stadium, and while waiting for our food I struck up a brief conversation with some other fans who were heading to the game.  On their way out, they stopped by our table and told us that their sons were on the team, and that we might cheer especially for them:  #17 on defense and #44 on offense.

With this knowledge, the kids were ready to get to the stadium.  We arrived early, where there were lots of giveaways for everyone:  mini footballs for the kids, schedule magnets, backpacks, posters, autograph cards.  We could sit anywhere we wanted, so we aimed for front and center, and landed in the first row on the 40-yard-line, somewhere we’ll likely never sit again.

40 yard line

With the sun trying to peek out, the threat of rain disappeared, and it turned out to be a pleasant afternoon for watching the game.  The scrimmage rules and scoring were somewhat modified, but the big screen, the announcing, the pep band playing–all of these were like being at a real game.  The only difference was that no matter which team scored, you got to cheer for the Gophers!

The highlight for the kids, however, was at the end of the game, when we walked down the concourse and onto the field for an autograph session with the players.  As a mom with four children and only three pens in her backpack, I panicked at first, but the team was ready with Sharpies for each of the players.  The team was scattered about the field, and our kids desperately looked for their new heroes:  #44, Ed Cotton, and #17, Sam Maresh.

Sam Maresh autograph

Once they’d secured those special autographs, they were happy to wander about, collecting as many as possible.

Autograph session

The fans and players alike seemed to enjoy the interaction, and the kids were delighted with the autographs they received.

Autograph session

When the Gophers kick off the season this fall, you can bet our kids will be watching, because after today’s scrimmage they feel a personal connection with the team.  Thanks to the U of M for hosting this free event to give our kids the chance to see the Gophers in action.  We’ll make sports fans of them yet!


Once again, a note that I’m participating in a contest at Best Kids Apps, a blog about iPhone apps for kids, for a chance to win an iPad, and this note is part of my entry.  Thanks for understanding as I put these blurbs in some of my posts, because although I don’t have the funds to actually buy an iPad, winning one would be very, very nice.


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One Comment to “Football at TCF Bank Stadium”

  1. [...] Museum of Natural History on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis on our way to the Gophers football scrimmage last weekend.  Since we were already on the campus, and had the car parked, it was the perfect [...]

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