Sunday, August 5, 2012

Off the List

Since my Sophomore year of high school I've steadily grown in my love for sports. Never liked them when I was young but now being a fan ranks among my highest interests. Growing up in ND there are no top level pro teams so when I started getting into sports I looked across the river & down the interstate to the Twin Cities teams.
At this point & for the last few years the Vikes have ranked at the top of the list. If I were to take a guess as to why Football in general is my favorite, the reason is simple - Fantasy. But as I've grown as a fan and been living down here I've really wanted to visit training camp. Well this time last summer the NFL was just trying to figure out if they were going to have a season. They did but it started late so that didn't work.
Obviously I know I will be leaving in a month so training camp is the only opportunity I have to get some live Vikings experience this year. So on Friday during work I realized that I didn't have to work on Saturday & that there was going to be a night practice on Saturday so I made the decision to drive to Mankato for the majority of Saturday.
The whole story plus pictures after the jump.
I decided to include my favorite picture up here too 
I had some business to take care before I could let myself leave so I took care of those in the morning & early afternoon. Just after 2:30 pm I got my stuff together, got in my car & started down 169 to Mankato.
The day couldn't have been any better. Blue skies with just the right amount of clouds & temperature in the mid 70's. It was pretty marvelous!
As I was getting near the college I really had no idea what to expect but for some reason thought that there wouldn't be many people there. Well I was wrong. I found a parking lot near the college and walked the couple blocks to the football stadium. I really don't know why everything surprised me the way that it did, might be that after years of waiting I wanted to take it all in & had really high expectations. I will the photo's show what I was seeing but I will say that on the surface it wasn't that unique. Again, years of waiting make for elevated expectations.
I visited some of the booths that were there & got as much free stuff as I could - which was nice because the only thing was free so it would be a good day outing for a family on a tight budget.
The best part of the afternoon was the dunk tank. Pay $5 & throw 3 footballs. The money was going to one of the Vikings charities so I figured it would be a good cause & I gave it a shot. The first 2 throws missed bad...not as badly as some people I saw throw after but still badly. The guy sitting over the tank was kind of a loud mouth & made comments to everybody that stepped up. Kind of funny but definitely obnoxious.
Then I got my third toss. I just focused in on the throw, didn't hear a thing the guy was saying & threw it. Bingo, I got him! I'd been watching for a few minutes before & no body was close & I only saw 1 guy dunk him within the next 10 minutes. I didn't ask how many people had, I just enjoyed it. I didn't say anything back to him, just grabbed my free t-shirt & walked away. It was satisfying though!
Like I said, I just hung around there for a while then went into the stadium to find a seat & watch the players come out, warm up & eventually practice.
There was a short scrimmage at the end also. They were rotating between the 4 QB's currently on the roster. Ponder looked good! But honestly, this undrafted rookie that they have has got a monster arm! He threw it like 60 yrs like it was nothing. Definitely was a little jealous!
Really over all though, the best part was just getting to see all the guys that are gonna make up my favorite team this year. Whatever their final record is, it was really fun to see!
I finally got to cross it off my list of activities, & I'm still gonna get to go in a week again so double excellence!
Now for the photos

Red Jersey - Christian Ponder (QB)

Chris Cook (CB)

 The now injured WR Greg Childs...ugh

Greenway (LB)



Mr. Late First Round - Harrison Smith (22)(S)

Rookie Kicker Blair Walsh...Kind of looks like a baby K Love

Antoine Winfield (CB) left & Jared Allen (DE) right

Again because I wanted to

The Vet coaching up his protege!