Yesterday was the much-anticipated Vikings/Bears Monday Night Football game at TCF Bank Stadium, the Vikings’ first outdoor home game in exactly 29 years. I had purchased four tickets long in advance for the game, thinking they would make an excellent gift to Mom and Dad (mostly Dad) for their 30th wedding anniversary, which was also yesterday. At the time, I had imagined them driving up and perhaps we would do some tailgating in the snow outside the Metrodome, then take in the game in the comfort of our indoor seats. Of course 17″ of snow and ice on the Metrodome’s thin roof changed everyone’s plans pretty drastically.
After much going back and forth and changes of plans, Mom and Dad gave up their seats, and Alex was quick to claim them for himself. So Alex and his pal Brock drove up Sunday night, along with another friend to take in the game with us. Alex’s other friend Justin bought a pair of tickets off Craigslist and sold the second one to Patrick. Lauren and I took a half day from work and got all bundled up and took a long bus ride from Uptown to the U, where we were among the first to get in line at 2:45. The gates didn’t open till 5:30, but with the first-come, first-serve seating, we stood in our spot for nearly three hours. The temperature was a modest 22 degrees, but with 8 more inches of snow falling and the wind blowing, they said it felt more like zero. They handed out hand-warmers to the crowd, which were instrumental in us surviving the night.
We secured some good third-row seats along the 20-yard line, and soon were joined by Luke and his dad. The excitement built as the clock ticked towards kickoff, and we were pretty amped up once they blared the “Monday Night Football” theme song over the speakers and fireworks shot in the air. Then Brett Favre led the Vikings down the field for a quick touchdown and the crowd threw snow in the air and everyone was going crazy. Lauren was bobbing up and down smiling ear-to-ear.
Then the cold really started to hit. Both Alex and I were forced to go to the pro shop to buy expensive pairs of Vikings socks to wear over our other socks since our feet were so frigid. It helped for a while, but both feet were completely numb by halftime. My gloves somehow got soaked and my hands were pruning and I was clinging to what little warmth was left from those chemical hand-warmers. Even with four layers of shirts and a blanket and a stocking cap and hood, I was still uncomfortably cold. It could have been ignored if the Vikings had at least been competitive, but the game quickly turned into a joke as the Bears took a 40-14 lead into the fourth quarter.
Still, I had a lot of fun and was glad I can say I experienced that one outdoor game. Here are a few shots from the night!