We’re well into August now, the schools are back in session and many have already set their eyes on the fall. Every year one thing enters my mind by now: football.
The love and appreciation for the games comes from growing up in Newton. Red Pride is a tradition and it is one that unites the community - the soap game, homecoming, ‘state.’
Football brings people together, family, friends, strangers, and all because of their interest and passion in the same thing or the same team. A shared game creates a bond that last a lifetime.
Summer was especially short this year and that’s why there is no better reason to get outside and enjoy a game of football this year as the leaves begin to change color. There are three football events that I’m looking forward to and they are ones recommended to you. Each one is a different experience.
1. Attend a regional NFL game
Living in central Iowa, we have a sort of unique perspective on professional football. We don’t have a team of our own, yet we are surrounding by larger cities that do and thankfully they are conveniently within a four or five hour drive.
The St. Louis Rams, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings and Kansas City Chiefs are all within reasonable driving distance for a weekend getaway. (The Nebraska Huskers don’t count.)
I have family on both sides of my family that live in Kansas City. It’s a city that is welcoming, diverse and full of lots of things to do, and did I mention they have some of the best food in the midwest? This fall, I’ll be headed down for a brief weekend of shopping, enjoying my family’s company and hopefully going to a Chiefs game.
The price of the game depends on whether the Chiefs are good or not. I’m no expert, but we can guess it could be a reasonable ticket price this year.
If you want any superb sporting experience, then of course, head to Chicago, but if you’re looking for a little more cost efficient trip then Kansas City or the Twin Cities are not a bad backup.
2. Tailgate for the Iowa - Iowa State game
Or any college game for that matter. I can feel the breeze now - the blissful joy and ease that comes from being outside on a comfortably chilly, sun shining, fall day.
On Saturday, September 14, the Iowa Hawkeyes will be playing the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames at Jack Trice Stadium. The game starts at 5 p.m. and so you’ll have the whole day to tailgate. Bring some games, lawn chairs and food and you have yourself a tailgate.
You’ll get wildly different tailgating experiences in Iowa City and Ames, and that’s another column, but in Ames you can certainly have a family-friendly time.
3. H.A. Lynn Stadium
At a back-to-school event for the school district employees, the marching band came in and played the school song - horns, percussion and everything. The sound was reminiscent of watching the full uniform marching band perform in high school throughout the fall and the way they provide a special contribution to the pride of high school football.
This season, the Newton Booster Club has come up with a clever opportunity to support Cardinals Football. You can tailgate at the parking lot on the south side of the locker rooms and H.A. Lynn Stadium for only $10 a game per spot. It’s a win-win for the football program and the fans alike.
Friday Night Lights is about the players, the coaches, the fans, the town, the band, the cheering, the 30 yard completions, and even if you have to wear gloves to hold your hot chocolate, you’re still glad to be there.
To reserve your tailgating spot for any or all of the five home games this season, go to www.newtoncardinals.bigteams.com.
Whether you go to college games every you or you haven’t been in 40, take some time this season to celebrate the sport with your family or friends.