Finally, Game Day is here! The game started at 5:00 local time, and we had nothing else scheduled during the day. The morning was filled with people sleeping in, doing laundry at the hotel, and kicking back.
We decided to ride the train to the stadium. We made a plan to leave the hotel at 2:00. Miles, Marissa, Stephanie and I left the hotel about Noon to go to Old Town and eat at the Coyote Café. We were frustrated once again by the twisty roads of San Diego, but we were finally able to locate a parking place on a side street, and then find the restaurant. Miles ordered a California Burrito that had steak & french fries in it. It sounded rather suspect to us, but he enjoyed it.
At the same time, Mallory and Erin went downtown to a place called “Heavenly Cupcakes”, to load up with cupcakes for a Mallory birthday celebration. Afterward, the entire rest of the group went to lunch at In-N-Out Burger.
We met back at the hotel and actually left around 2:15. Not bad for day 6 of the trip. At this point, it was the whole gang – all 9 of us who originally started our trip, plus Earlene, Lynda & Neal.
We had to go just a few blocks and catch the train, which left at 2:30. We made it with minutes to spare. We were riding on the Orange Line, which we gladly pointed out to an Oregon fan who was visiting with us. However, we had to change trains at one point, and we got on the Green Line, which he was quick to point out was the Oregon color. While waiting on the Green Line, we ran into an older couple from Spokane, Washington, who was down for the game. They were OSU fans, originally from Muskogee. While down in San Diego, they told us they had gone across the border for some dental work and eyeglasses. You can get some real bargains on getting teeth pulled, at those Mexican dentists. He was also very proud of the eyeglasses he was wearing, which he told me he got in Mexico. When I looked more closely at his face, I noticed that his glasses sat on his face at about a 20 degree angle. I think he got exactly what he paid for.
We arrived at Qualcomm Stadium around 3:15. The train stop is adjacent to the stadium. It could not be more convenient. We decided to walk around the stadium to check out any activities that might be going on. We managed to walk around nearly the entire stadium, and saw absolutely nothing. We also appeared to be outnumbered about 15:1 as far as Green vs Orange.
We didn’t get offered any discount tickets today – of course, we already had our tickets to the game. However, as we were walking around the stadium, a man approached Mallory, told her that he liked her OSU jersey, and handed her an official 2008 OSU Football Media Guide! He was obviously some member of the media, and didn’t feel he had a need for the Guide. It was very nice of him to share that with Mallory.
Once inside the stadium, we quickly found our seats. We were on the 10 yard line, straight up. We were actually only about 7 or 8 rows from the top of the stadium, but we definitely had a great view of the field. All 12 of our tickets were right next to each other, in two rows back-to-back, so it was neat to be able to be close to everyone in our party.
The first half went very well for our team. We led 17 – 7 at the break, and their one touchdown appeared to be more of a fluke, as it was essentially an 80 yard touchdown run. We felt pretty good knowing that we kept the potent Oregon offense to just 7 points, but we did feel that we squandered some opportunities to have a much larger lead than just 10 points. Mallory & Marissa were mainly unaffected by the action on the field. They spent the entire game creating some make-believe stories and playing with some pieces of cardboard. At one point, Marissa started yelling at Mallory because she didn’t like the way she was making up her part of the story! “Mallory, the dogs are not at the shelter!”
The halftime program was pretty cool. Each school’s band played. The OSU band sounded awesome. Then, they had 15 or 20 high school bands all come onto the field and perform several numbers. But interestingly, they also were shooting off fireworks from the top of the stadium, and from outside the stadium, during the halftime ceremony, so I’m not sure anybody was even paying attention to the bands on the field.
The second half fell apart rather quickly for the Cowboys. The Ducks returned the 2nd half kickoff down inside our 10 yard line, and quickly scored a touchdown. From there, it seemed one thing led to another, and before you know it, the teams were trading scores, and the lead. At one point, our QB got his bell rung, and the consensus in our group was that he wasn’t the same after that. He had a hard time connecting even on basic passes down the stretch when we still had an excellent opportunity to win the game.
As the final gun sounded, the score was Oregon 42, Oklahoma State 31, and we were exiting the stadium. When we walked over to the train station, the line was enormous! What seemed like a stellar idea 7 hours earlier, now seemed slightly less so. Fortunately, after standing in this line with literally thousands upon thousands of people, we realized that we were in the line for the train heading toward downtown. We are staying in La Mesa, which would be the exact opposite of downtown, so we were able to get out of that mob, walk across the station, and go immediately get in line on the train platform. We missed the 9:15 train, but we were the first passengers on the next train around 9:30. We felt very fortunate, because it is hard to believe that some of the people heading downtown were not going to spend several hours waiting on a train.
We rode the train to our transfer point, and got off to switch trains. We had a wait of around 30 minutes, but we happened to run into our new friends from Spokane, Washington again. We discussed the game, what they do in Spokane, etc. Anything that could help pass the time was a legal topic!
We caught our next train and successfully made it back to our La Mesa stop. After we arrived back at the hotel, everybody met in KK & PKs room for a quick Mallory Birthday Party. We placed a Number 9 candle on Mallory’s cupcake and she blew it out, then we all sang her Happy Birthday. The cupcakes were very delicious. There were exotic flavors like Chocolate Peppermint, Carrot Cake, Red Velvet, and Lemon, just to name a few.
After ample visiting, Lynda, Neal and Earlene left the party as they are driving to Phoenix tonight. Lynda and Neal’s other daughter, Allison, goes to school at Minnesota University and is in their band. Minnesota is playing Kansas in the Insight Bowl in Phoenix tomorrow night, and the family is on their way to see her. Just to be fair, I will also say that their son is in the High School band in St. Louis, and he is in Orlando Florida at a competition at this time. I was joking with Earlene a few days ago that I think my three kid’s activities keep me busy right now, but at least they are not in three different states at the same time.
After the group left, we talked about what our plans are for tomorrow, our last full day in San Diego. We had been planning all along to visit the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park on our last day, but when we started bringing it up to the kids, they seemed indifferent. We’ll check in with them again in the morning, because it may just be that everybody was too tired to have an opinion tonight. San Diego is not a place we will find ourselves very often, so we want to make the most of our opportunity while we’re here.
I received several phone calls, text messages, and emails from well-wishers today. It was great to hear from all of you! Too bad we were not able to bring home a Holiday Bowl Championship with us.