Tuesday, September 20, 2011

College Football Game Day

Youngest and I had an almost perfect Saturday. Perfect would have been if Husband, Oldest, and Middle had been there too, but truth be told...it was kind of nice just the two of us.

Grandpa's Purdue football tickets were ours--he was out of town. Sometimes one or the other of us gets to go with Grandpa, and when he's not able to go, we trade off who gets the tickets. If the tickets end up at our house, it's almost always me and one of the kids. And there are rituals to be observed.

We get up early and eat a little, but not too much. We stop about an hour away from the stadium for breakfast sandwiches to go and turn the radio dial to the pre game show as we head on down the road. We park where Grandpa has parked for years, up the hill from the stadium in a wooded neighborhood. Youngest has the best memory for where we leave the car.

We walk down the hill, going slowly past any tailgate that smells good and always hope that we get to the stadium gates in time to see the band arrive and play the fight song. And beat the world's largest drum.

After the band moves on, we pull out our tickets and move toward our gate. By this time, the music playing from inside the stadium and the growing crowds have us grinning ear to ear and walking more quickly.

When we get into the stadium, we face the climb to our seats--3 rows from the top of Ross Ade Stadium. It's a long climb, but we can see the whole field clearly. That makes it a lot easier to make our own coaching or officiating calls.

We watch the seats fill as we wait for the team to take the field--the train whistle, the flags, Purdue Pete, and our Boiler boys taking the field...awesome way to spend a Saturday. We cheer and groan and chant and sing the fight song.

The best days, of course, are when we get a win. But either way, on the hike back up the hill to find the car, the discussion almost always turns to what kind of ice cream sundae we'll get at Hap's on the way home. Hap's is a tradition started by Grandpa, and one we're a little afraid to break. The sundaes are huge and the menu for them is too--around 80-some options. Whether we're celebrating a victory or drowning our sorrows, the trip doesn't quite feel complete without stopping here. Besides the ice cream, they have little electric trains that run on tracks near the ceiling. What Boilermaker wouldn't love a place with a train?

At the end of the day, we drag ourselves into the house. For us, the drive to and from is longer than the game. But worth it. Completely worth it.
Boiler Up! Hammer Down!


  1. Your day called up many memories of our own game days at our school, & they are such fun, but your traditions with Grandpa beginning them is really special. The sundaes sound scrumptious. Thanks for the day!

  2. I love the idea of ice cream having two purposes: celebrating victories AND drowning sorrows! There's always a good reason for ice cream, right?

  3. You have certainly captured a day and a memory - and many memories of many days.

  4. This reminds me of when my father used to give us tickets to the SeaDogs game because he "couldn't make it" for one reason or another. Truth be told, he just liked having extra tickets on hand to give out so someone could have a night out at the baseball game. Your Haps reminds me of our Governor's - generous portions (they invented the "Blizzard" before DQ) and a train that runs the perimeter of the dining area up above the diners' heads.
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