jimmymn

How could I not be a Gopher fan?

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While going to school, supporting a family, and working full time, the Twin Cities crossed my path by way of a job opportunity. With that meant the U of M became my third stop on the college road, which included three states.

What unbelievable luck -- Lou Hudson, Archie Clark, and Don Yates were juniors my first year attending the U. That was the beginning of my close emotional attachment to Gopher athletics. In 1970 I bought six seats of season tickets for basketball. Gopher games were the favorite activity of my young (large) family. After ten years I cut that to four seats, then a few years later to two seats as kids grew up. All told, I had Gopher basketball season tickets 25 years and saw the greatest basketball talent imaginable at Williams Arena. Bill Musselman made Gopher basketball the greatest show in the country. Clem Haskins made it reliably good to great.

I decided to get football season tickets the year the Metrodome opened ('82), making this coming season No. 35. In that time I might have missed maybe two games due to unavoidable foreign travel. All the years when I was actively traveling I purposely and carefully scheduled foreign trips around the Gopher home schedule.

I didn't end up long ago in Minnesota because of the U. It just happened to be where I chose to take a job. But it was inevitable a love affair with the University of Minnesota and our football and basketball programs would be long and fast, dear to my heart.

Being an avid fan more than 50 years it is difficult to say who were the best players I have seen. There have been so many. In basketball it could be Hudson because ... Sweet Lou ... and because he averaged 14 ppg as a senior left handed after breaking his right wrist in one of the earliest games. Michael Thompson, just because he was The Greatest; Dave Winfield because who can come off an intramural team and be the best rebounder in the Big Ten? Or Bobby Jackson just because he wouldn't lose.

Clem was our best coach in my experience if for no other reason, he won several games by throwing his suit coat into the crowd and taking a T at the perfect moment. When Clem's jacket flew Williams Arena became the loudest spot on earth and his Gopher team became world beaters, all in a heart beat.

In football it was Darrel Thompson, just because. Or Lawrence Maroney because every time I told one of my sons he was going to get 30 yards on this down, he did it. Mase was a mighty fine coach but Jerry performed the greatest coaching service ever for the Gophers -- up to this point.

All in all, I am one of the luckiest Gopher fans ever, having seen hundreds of the best of our best ever to wear the Maroon and Gold in two sports.
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