Along with about 49,000 Minnesotans (and perhaps 1,000 people from Colorado Springs), I attended the Gopher football team’s season opener against Air Force last night.
The unqualified star of the game?
The new stadium.
Much smaller than I expected, the stadium only seats 50,000. That compares favorably — at least from a fan’s perspective — with the giant bowls at Ann Arbor (University of Michigan) and Columbus, OH (Ohio State), both of which hold about double that.
The effect is a bit like Wrigley Field for football.
The stands are smaller, and much closer to the field. At the west end, the stadium is open, offering a view of downtown Minneapolis. The only nod to the modern sports palaces now in vogue is the phalanx of luxury boxes above the second deck on the stadium’s south side.
Runner-up status to the stadium itself was the giant scoreboard, the size of a (large) drive-in movie theater (and billed as the world’s third-biggest).
Even the weather complied: an almost sultry, early fall evening.
Oh, and the game? The home team won.
P.S.: how many other places would my Dad, a retired social worker, have better seats than a former Governor? (As an adjunct “U” professor and long-time season ticket holder, he had a lot of seniority). Former Gov. Arne Carlson, who seemed to be holding court, was down a row with his wife.