Sunday, September 9, 2007


So yesterday was the home opener for the Illini football team, a 6 p.m. start which is particularly conducive to tailgating. The "Grrr" of today's post goes to Mother Nature who did her best to dampen (both literally and figuratively) our tailgate plans... but we are a hardy and dedicated lot and would not be denied.

So we headed over to the stadium just after 3 p.m. yesterday, after the big rains passed through, and tailgated in the mud. We nearly had to take out a couple of kids playing football in the parking lot with the van because the lot was a bit muddy, we were loaded down with people and supplies and weren't about to stop and get stuck in the mud... sorry kids.

Kudo's go to Nikki's Dad, Jerry, aka "Captain Map" (if you are ever lost give Jerry a call) who brought a tarp, albeit as slightly leaky on, so we could fashion a MacGyver-like tent out of the back of the van. It looked a little redneck, perhaps a little "ghetto fabulous" if you will, but it worked and we stayed relatively dry. Here is a picture of the setup.

We had a few of the enemies among us. Nikki's sister, Angie, and her friend, Tara, attend Western Illinois University, the Illini's opponent. They challenged Nik and me to an Illini vs. Leatherneck washers show down. As much as I hate to admit it the Leathernecks put a beat down on the Illini in washers... but the Illini won the football game, and that is all I really cared about it. Here is a great pic of the "Sisters Murbarger" throwing down.

Also, joining us at the tailgate was my buddy and former Illini football player mentee, Jake. Jake recently made the tough decision to give up football this season to pursue being a "normal" college student this year. This was one of his first tailgating experiences (the coaches frown on the tailgating when you are actually on the team) and I think Jake enjoyed it. He put his former NCAA Division 1 athlete skills on display with this 4-point washer shot (see below)... but I think he still got his booty kicked by girls... Tara and Ang have some serious washer skills!

Anywho, perhaps the best part of Jake leaving the team is that now we are no longer subject to NCAA rules and regulations and I can feed the boy. Here he is enjoying a tailgate sandwich, along with Captain Map... and it is totally legal.

Angie had the line of the day, though. She is not yet 21, but the rest of her posse is, so she went up to Captain Map and asked "Daddy, can I have a beer?" You don't hear that everyday, it was a precious... FYI the answer was "No!"... sorry Ang.

I little later my college buddy Scott Larimer, aka "Larimer" stopped by with his parents. Here is a picture of the two of us. He still looks like he is in college... me... not so much.

The construction around the stadium is a bit a of a pain, especially in the rain... muddy porta potties... need I say more... but I was perhaps expecting even worse? The new student section is really nice, and I am looking forward to seeing what the west side will look like next season.

It was little soggy, but still a great day.


Anonymous said...

You still look pretty collegiate, Jano. And Larimer (finally) looks manly and kind of buff---oh, our perpetual teenager has grown up.

I want fall. I would even go tailgating to have some fall in my life. I would not, however, be able to actually sit through a football game. I guess I could bring a book.


Sarah said...

first off: God Bless DirecTV and the Big Ten Network - Somehow I am getting it!! It isn't often we get to see some midwest action in the south.

Second: That tent was so NOT redneck. I am becoming quite familiear with redneck and I think you have a long way to go before it gives us competition. it was deifnitley McGyvered though.

Third: I wish I were there to actually go to a game :-) My year flew by and now I am back in the Delta and missing being in a college town.