Usually, we watch from the cool comfort of our family room with the giant TV (Alan somehow talked me into this several years ago), but occasionally we score some real game day tickets. Then we make the 2.5 hour pilgrimage to lovely Manhattan, Kansas (fondly known as the "Little Apple") and home of the Kansas State Wildcats!
Alan and I met there, so it's full of fun memories and nostalgia rules when we drive into this lovely college town in hilly northeast Kansas. You didn't know there were hills in Kansas? Wrong...just happens to be flat where I live!
Above is the new WEST HALF of the stadium...a mere 90 million dollar investment for the home team. The day after the final game last year, they imploded the existing west half of the stadium, then worked like crazy to rebuild and expand. We were there for the first game in the newly expanded facility...and thankfully our tickets were on the west side in the SHADE. It was still over 100 degrees at 7:30 game time.
What's game day without some parking lot tailgating? Our friend, chef Doug, brought along some tasty kabobs, and the men grilled while we set out other potluck food we had brought along. Did I mention it was HOT? I have no idea what the temp was in the parking lot, but it was staggeringly HOT. I'm not very heat tolerant, so I collapsed in one of those folding sling chairs and drank and drank and drank....water, I mean!
It was so hot, I almost lost my appetite....almost! Brenda had brought along some amazing peanut butter/chocolate chip cookies, and they're my favorite. I figured the sugar was good for me in that HOT environment, not to mention the protein in that peanut butter!
We have lots of pals who regularly go to games, driving from towns around the state and often out of state. Here are my long-time friends, Greg and Julie (and husband Alan with his mouth full of food on the right). Julie was my roommate in college, and we're still good friends. You may remember Julie from my summer post on the lavender farm.
Dinner's over and we're ready to brave the crowds INSIDE the stadium, with friends Doug and Vicki.
But first, a photo op as we enter the stadium. Boy, was this a hard shot to get as hordes of loyal fans were massing through the gates. The only people not in purple were the green-shirted security guys behind me. I'm standing with the new statue of our beloved coach, Bill Snyder. He's still coaching and he's no youngster. And he's always wearing the same purple windbreaker and carrying a clipboard, just like his statue. We had bets if he would emerge this night wearing the windbreaker, since it was rumored to be 136 degrees on the field...but he did!
We set a new attendance record with over 53,000 in attendance, and enjoyed the full football game experience...awesome marching band, traditional cheers, our mascot Willie the Wildcat, big salty pretzel (I needed the extra salt to combat the heat) and all that. After a full bottle of water in the first half, and a giant Diet Coke in the 3rd quarter, I think I finally cooled off for the finish of the game. What a treat to get to attend in person, but I'm watching the next game from a cool recliner!