Thursday, January 1, 2009

My 400th

It's been almost a year since I first began blogging - January 10, 2008, to be precise. This is my 400th post. I thought, as the numbers inched ever closer to that figure, that the timing might be perfect for both to fall on the same date. But alas, such a thing was not to be.

My first milestone (the 100th) occurred on May 8th, when I published "In my perfect world ... ...". This one was kind of a challenge, but a lot of fun. In exactly 100 words, I listed some of the things that I thought would be included in my utopia.

"An introspective", published on July 27th, was my 200th. In this one I attempted to share with you a more intimate glimpse of "Goldenrod" - what I like and dislike, some of my interests, and various idiosyncrasies of my personality. I tried to include details you might not already have read about in previous posts.

On October 15, 2008, I published my 300th, "Here, there, and everywhere". It was a 'bits & pieces' or 'scattered thoughts' type of post, which I thought was appropriate for an anniversary because that's what "Goldenrod's thoughts" is all about - no particular focus, no central theme or topic. In fact, I wrote, "I'm all over the place!"

So, what have I decided to do for my 400th? Other than the fact that it's being published on the 1st day of a brand new year, there's nothing particularly 'special' about it. However, I have a specific topic in mind ... football!

College football, what with all of the bowl game hype going on right now (Capital One, Gator, Orange, and Rose Bowls are all being played today), is at the forefront of many people's minds, and I'd like to take you back to the 60's, when I was living in West Lafayette, Indiana and attending Purdue University part-time as a graduate student while teaching full-time.

The year was 1966. I'd always loved football, even played it some as a kid. Always with boys, of course ... no other girls were remotely interested in such a thing! Liked a lot of other sports as well, but I'm going to write exclusively today about football.

Those were the 'golden years' of Purdue football (imo), when a young fellow named Bob Griese was the quarterback. He not only was the mastermind of the team's offense, he also kicked off and attempted their field goals! (Did any of you happen to know that little tidbit?)

[I actually met him and had the opportunity to talk with him several times when we were both students there. It would have been while I was going to visit my husband in the lab, probably. Perhaps Bob was an engineering student? I don't remember. What I DO remember, however, was how self-effacing he was. No bmoc attitude.]

I went to every game that year. The Boilermakers were having a great season, and it looked like they might even be invited to go to the Rose Bowl for their first time ever. It was exciting! Except for the game against Minnesota, I drove. I came very close to missing that one! Drove to Crown Point, where I dropped my daughter off at my in-laws, and then continued on to O'Hare Airport in Chicago, where I looked frantically for a spot to park the car.

Finally found one, shoved my feet into fur-lined and waterproofed nylon boots, grabbed all my gear (lots and lots of warm stuff, including an afghan that I had knit), made sure I had my ticket, and RAN all the way into the terminal. Once inside, I began shouting for directions to the gate. Kept running and screaming whenever I needed more directions. It must have appeared as tho I was a crazy woman.

I didn't dare look at any clocks. I just kept running. I got to the gate just as the stewardess was closing the doors! Found my seat and collapsed. I don't think I stopped gasping for air and breathing hard for another ten or fifteen minutes. Boy, that was close!

For the game against the University of Michigan, my brother got us seats in the middle of their student cheering section. Can you imagine such a thing? Well, he did! In those days, anyone who was extremely obnoxious was in danger of being passed overhead on outstretched hands and arms to the top of the stadium and then summarily dropped to the ground outside.

Are you familiar with that stadium? It's a complete oval and is set into a hill. So, depending on where your seat was, the drop could have been anywhere from just a few feet to many! (I believe that practice was outlawed some years ago after one incident where a dropee sustained severe injuries.)

Well, I was there to cheer for my team and cheer for my team I did. My brother did his best to shush me. When that didn't work, he tried to hide under his seat. A pretty tough maneuver when you're 6'3"!

All of Purdue's games against Michigan were played in their stadium. Why? Money, of course! You know, that green stuff? Our stadium only seated a little over 62,000, theirs 100,000. Ticket, as well as broadcast, revenues were shared between each school.

The upshot of this whole story is that Purdue did go to the Rose Bowl. Guess who won?

Many people told me later that they had searched for me in the stands at that Rose Bowl game and finally found me. I'm pretty sure I was so unthinking as to tell them that I wasn't there. Certainly, I could have described the game in great detail. We were glued to our television set the whole time.

Initially I had planned to go, but we had just relocated to Columbus, Ohio, and there was a lot of settling in to do.

I'm nowhere near the end of talking about Purdue's 'glory days' in football, but that'll have to do it for this post. If I'm in the same mood tomorrow, I'll continue. Otherwise, you can look forward to another segment about this same time next year!


Nancy said...

I'm pretty sure my father-in-law went to grad school at Purdue and (I know) he is a Purdue fan. It would have been before '66, though, as he already had three kids by then and was living in Georgia.

Goldenrod said...

Hi, Nancy! Happy New Year!! I'm tickled to hear that there's a Purdue fan (current) out there. I'm so far removed now from the college football scene that I can barely keep track of Rice and the University of Houston ... both 'home' teams.

But, I just got an e-mail from my friend Jacky, whom I've mentioned previously, I'm pretty sure. It's priceless! Here it is, verbatim ... (well, except for the greeting, where she calls me by my real name -- can't have that!) ...

"I remember that Michigan-Purdue game very well. We got there late, heard the kickoff on the radio, found a parking place and got into the game. Since your brother had gotten the tickets we were seated smack dab in the center of the Michigan student section. We no sooner set down than you jumped up and yelled 'Go Purdue!' Your brother wasn't the only one trying hard to disappear!"

Rrvit!! It's times like these, tho, when I really wish that Jacky would assume a nom de plume in order to be able to comment on a specific post directly. (Other times, when she has comments of a more private nature that she might wish to make, she would be still be able to avail herself of the e-mail route, right?)

Craig Peihopa said...

Congratulations Goldenrod, a great post and milestone.

steven said...

wow!!! doesn't it just amaze you that you can share so much!!! congratulations goldenrod.

Tammy said...

Happy 400th! I saw your post earlier, but wanted to take time to re-read your earlier posts that you linked in this one.

Really, you are a wonderful writer and an even better friend. So glad to have "met" you online. :)

Goldenrod said...

Thanks, you guys. I really appreciate the kind words. Your friendship has meant a lot to me as well, Tammy. And Steven, congrats on your new site! Will you be publishing any of your own work?