What’s the better Football experience?
I was asked on a radio show recently about the experience of a bigtime high school football rivalry (Hutchinson vs. GSL). The host eluded that maybe he should come out to the 2013 version of this game. I responded I’d welcome him with open arms and get him a pre game pork chop, saying the chops were legendary at the stadium. That got me to thinking a bit about gameday experiences. I figured I’d take a look at the four levels of football in the state and what each experience was like. Then at the end I’ll give you my pick for top football experience.
Pro Football/Vikings: I am a diehard Vikings fan. Been through the 3 and 4 win seasons, been through Sean Salisbury at QB (yikes!), been through more scandals than JLO has had husbands, and still bleeding purple. But I’m just not a huge fan of the gameday experience at the dome. Ok, now that’s really no shock to anyone of us that’s been to the dome. To give the Vikings credit they are trying with the outdoor plaza, but In the end it’s the stadium that gives it such a low grade. I’d much rather watch a game on TV. Now maybe this changes when the new stadium is built, but for now…this one is dead last on my list.
Major College Football/Gophers: To be fair, I’ll preface this next paragraph by saying I have not attended a game at the new TCF Bank Stadium. I have seen the stadium, I have been by it…but not been in it. Getting the games back on campus I do think helped their gameday experience. Had they still been in the dome, this experience would easily rank last, Instead it climbs up a spot to #3. The team has not been watchable for a while and that has a big drag on the experience. You don’t hear about any pregame or postgame activities…it’s just go to the game and go home. Again, maybe I’d change my mind if I attended a game there…but that’s how it looks like to me.
High School Football: This ranks #2 on my best experiences list. There are few things better in my mind than a fall night on the gridiron. A bunch of kids playing for the name on the front of the jersey’s and not the back. Kids you know giving their all just because they love the game. Certain places there are tailgating, gathering with your friends and talking over the week, your neighbors and friends all together supporting the local school. The only reason this does not rank #1 on my list is the much higher chances of seeing a stinker for a game. In HS football the good teams can be real good, and the not so good teams…well you get the picture. A well played High School football game to go along with the overall atmosphere is a beautiful thing.
Small College Football: Yep, the #1 spot on my list goes here to Small College Football. A fall Saturday afternoon is one of the few things that rank higher to me than a fall Friday. I don’t care if your watching St. Cloud State or Mankato…Crown College or Ridgewater…your seeing kids that someone thought was the best of High School Football. Your going to see a game played with high skill, players who know what they are doing and try to execute the game plan. Your also seeing some of the things I mentioned in High School Football. Your seeing friends and neighbors at the game, your seeing pregame and postgame tailgating. Kids that aren’t playing for the big money that the big colleges are playing for. Oh sure, there are a few players there that may see time in the NFL, but for 99.9% of the small college players they know they are going pro in something other than sports. But they don’t care…they love playing at it shows.
So there you have it…Small College Football gets my vote for best gameday experience. I’d love to hear what you have to say. Everyone’s experiences can be so different. Your list may look completely different than mine. Send me a note or leave a comment below. I always look forward to hearing what you have to say.