How do you create a “Remember When” experience?
With Thanksgiving right around the corner it reminds me how significant great memories are to our lives. How do you know if or when you’ve created one of those “remember when…..” moments?
The formula can be totally spontaneous or partially planned. This past Saturday I planned and hoped to create one of those “remember when” moments with my daughters. My daughters are both in high school now and as you might imagine we don’t share as many interests as we used to.
I took a shot and made a plan to visit my Alma Mater, the University of Iowa for a campus visit on a football Saturday. It wasn’t just any football Saturday. My Hawkeyes were 9-0 and the number five ranked team in the entire country. With a win, they would be 10-0 for the first time in history. The team usually plays seven home games each year and on those days Iowa City is electric. This Saturday was much crazier than most because the game was to be played under the lights at 7pm rather than 11am. That meant the fans had all day to tailgate prior to the game.
What was my plan for the day?
Leave mid-morning and let my sixteen year old drive in to town with my other daughter riding shot gun while I hung out in the back seat. Great start as they controlled the music and sang out loud to their favorite songs as we cruised into town!
Arrive hungry and let the girls pick a cool place to eat. Before we parked the girls had spotted a trendy yogurt place. Check box, it hit the spot, more smiles all around.
There was not a cloud in the sky and it was 60 degrees in the middle of November. The sun would be down with a chill in the air by kickoff time. This was a great excuse to go shopping for new Hawkeye gear to keep them warm. My girls love to shop and we had plenty of time so we visited several stores. While doing this, we walked through the campus and the adjacent downtown. The walk was joyful in part because of the sunshine and the buzz you could feel all around. The anticipation was building. Isabella even asked me “does EVERYBODY where Iowa logo clothes like this everyday?” The girls both bought sweatshirts and spotted a thrift store that they both liked and took advantage of dad’s generosity and bought an outfit there as well. Walking though the campus, brick paved streets, grassy knolls and hilly terrain was quite fun, smiles all around.
After that we met up with a former fraternity brother of mine and his 18 year old daughter. We visited an old favorite bar/restaurant of ours to grab a snack. From there we went to grab our warm clothes from the car and started walking over to the stadium area (about 1 mile on the other side of the Iowa River) to find a friend’s tailgate. The sun had set and the partiers came out of the wood works. Tailgates had been going on for hours and I was actually uncomfortable (I must be getting old) seeing so many over served people as I walked the streets with my girls. They snickered quite a bit on the walk over to the stadium seeing the sights and campus.
Part of the adventure in going to an event like this is getting tickets from scalpers outside the stadium. This was a night game against an average U. of Minnesota football team, but being 9-0 and ranked so high, made this an incredibly difficult ticket to get. I’ve been buying tickets like this for years at most of the games I attend and I can’t remember getting a tougher ticket. We probably walked around the entire stadium looking for three tickets together for at least an hour. No luck. Finally, I decided to buy three single tickets wherever I could get them and hope we could find a place in the rowdy student section to sit together.
It worked. we sat together, although the students tend to stand for most of the game. The team showed off their brand new “black out” uniforms as they came out of the locker room in there famous swarm holding hands taking the field.
The game was amazing. The crowd was electric from start to finish. My girls don’t know a lot about football, they didn’t know a player by name, but they had the best time EVER. They high-fived and smiled all night. The Hawkeyes pulled off the victory 40-35 to go to 10-0 and we left with a big smile, but most importantly the girls had an amazing time.
We took lots of pictures and created a “Remember When” day.