Sunday, September 13, 2009

No Place Like Home

There are few things that make me miss Minnesota like the fall. While we in Austin are celebrating highs in the 80s and 90s (a nice break from triple digits), I know that in Minnesota, the leaves are starting to turn, the air is getting wonderfully cool, and people are enjoying apples from local orchards, things made with pumpkin and squash, and soups and stews. These things always leave me aching to be back in the Midwest.

Last night, the Gophers played their first home game in their new stadium. It was the first time the Gophers have played on the campus that I love so dearly in over thirty years; when we were in college, we walked downtown to watch them play in the Metrodome, a stadium they shared with the Vikings and the Twins. The only games we watched outside were the ones we traveled to in Madison and Iowa City. As seniors, we wore t-shirts that read, "Where's Our On-Campus Stadium?" It's been a long time coming, and it is open.

The Gophers are not an easy team to cheer for, but Minnesota fans have been waiting for this. The stadium was sold out, and from photos and video footage I've seen, everywhere was a sea of maroon and gold. My dad called me from the pre-game festivities, and I could hear the marching band playing the Minnesota rouser in the background, and after the Gophers beat Air Force under the sky instead of a dome, the television coverage included the band playing "Hail, Minnesota," Robin's and my alma mater's school song.

Despite the amazing friends we have in Austin, last night, there was no place I would have rather been than Minneapolis.

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