Minnesota vs. Iowa Football memories
In high school, the Explorer Post I belonged to “worked” University of Minnesota football games. Our particular group had two tasks. Before the game, we were in charge of raising the flag during the playing of the national anthem. This was trickier than it might seem, because there was a knack to raising the flag so it would not snag on a protrusion from the stadium structure. The experienced among us taught the newbies. At the end of the game we were stationed along one sideline, holding a rope to keep fans from rushing the field.
Now when I think about it, I realize that must have been more of a visual deterrent for rejoicing fans than a practical one. Are some teen-age boys holding a rope going to be successful in holding back an onrush of fans? Really – no.
Sidebar: My Eagle Scout uniform was a little bit special. I had never been a cub scout or boy scout. I joined the Explorer Scouts because some of my friends asked me, and I was attracted to their summer camping forays into Canada and other activities. Actually, I was invited to join because they were attracted to my girlfriend (Sandy Nelson), and hoped I would bring here along on co-ed activities. Then I broke up with her…
Anyway, because of my late start, I did not have any merit badges. To earn a merit badge, you had to attain the lowest rank, which was Tenderfoot. Most people took care of this in Cub scouts. I was not attracted to the tasks required, feeling that I was too old and mature (!) to make a drum out of an oatmeal container, among others. I took part in some classes that led to a merit badge (the firefighting one was awesome), but I could not ever get the actual badge reward.
Most of my friends had been active in scouting for years, and their uniforms weighed pounds more than mine, especially those that were Eagle Scouts. If he was also an Order of the Arrow, there was even a white sash with even more stuff.
I liked mine in its pure state. Dark green, with the post number on the left shoulder, and that was it. Kind of like being an unintentional rebel in a para-military organization.
I remember the end of a Minnesota-Iowa football game very well. The two teams play each year for a trophy called “Floyd of Rosedale.” This goes back to 1935, when the trophy was a live pig by that name. Presumably eaten by the winners, he was replaced by a heavy bronze trophy in 1936. The winner gets to display the trophy all year, and show it off at the game.
Near the end we were standing on the Iowa sideline, the rope in readiness lying at our feet. The game was almost over, and Minnesota had the lead. And the ball. The Gophers were running out the clock with simple running plays, as you would, and Iowa was out of timeouts.
The Iowa players were all on their feet in front of us, filled with frustration and rage. Floyd sat on a table behind them. These huge men were screaming obscenities at the top of their lungs, wanting Minnesota to do something that would give them back the ball. I was terrified. I had played football for two years on both offense and defense, and I had hit people and been hit by people, but this was different. I had never been around such a mass of really large men who were so terrifyingly angry. I was afraid one or two of them would turn around and just stomp some of us into the ground.
Then it got worse.
The game ended. Now the entire Minnesota team was charging across the field en masse, to retrieve the trophy they’d won. I felt like a peasant facing a charge by a Viking army. Would a mass riot break out? Would I be involved?
Of course, nothing happened. The Gophers got their trophy, and we all went home. If there’d been a merit badge for experiencing sheer terror, I would have earned it.’
Copyright 2019 David Preston