The frozen tundra of New Ulm field
It was cold. Dang cold.
Don’t let anyone tell you any different.
The weather conditions at the New Ulm High School football field were nasty on Friday night, Nov. 10.
It was freezing temperatures. The wind was howling across the field, from one goal post to the other. That wind made it feel even colder. Much colder.
And then it snowed. Wind driven snow pellets actually. If you faced into the wind, the pellets stung your face.
The dedicated fans who were there were bundled up, wearing lots of winter gear. And then they wrapped themselves in blankets.
It wasn’t enough.
People said ‘hi’ to me and I had to ask who they were. All that was showing were their eyes.
If you look at Kevin Mertens photos in this week’s issue of the Faribault County Register, you get at least a visual sense of what I am talking about. But if you weren’t there, you don’t really know how bad it was.
That is because it seemed to be just New Ulm that was getting pelted.
Back in Blue Earth, Holiday Sampler was going on. Warmer temperatures, just a little breeze and no snow.
Back in New Um, I left the game at 10:30 p.m. and drove over snow-covered roads and near blizzard conditions for the first few miles south out of town.
For full disclosure, I also attended the 5 p.m. game in New Ulm that was played just before the 8 p.m. BEA Bucs game. I wanted to see the RTR Knights play, a team I had covered for 22 years before coming to Blue Earth.
So I stupidly stood out on the frozen field for five hours. I have no one to blame but myself.
It is not the first time I have nearly frozen to death watching football. After 45 years of covering high school football, I have seen a lot of adverse weather conditions. Frozen slick fields, snow coming down so hard the lines on the field disappeared. And, since this is Minnesota, mind-numbing temperatures.
Once, back in the days before digital photography, I shot two rolls of 35 mm film during a game played in blizzard conditions.
When I got back home, developed the film in the darkroom, there was just one photo that turned out looking like something and had some football action. The rest were pictures of, well, a blizzard.
Luckily I had that one picture turn out.
I have seen a Minnesota section championship football playoff game moved to South Dakota due to excessive snowfall in Minnesota. Not that South Dakota had any better weather, but they do have the Dakota Dome and that is where the game between two Minnesota high school football teams was played.
There are also the many outdoor Minnesota Gophers and Minnesota Vikings games I have attended. Yes, I’m talking about having season tickets to the Vikings when they played at Met Stadium before the Metrodome and before they got smart and moved indoors. Some of those games played outside in December were bitterly cold. I still don’t know how those fanatic Packers fans survive the frozen tundra of Lambeau field and enjoy it. Maybe alcohol has something to do with it…
But, I digress.
While the BEA Buccaneer football team didn’t quite make it to the Bank this weekend, dang it, they still had one heckuva season and should be proud of what they accomplished. They made it to the State Football Tournament again, when some people thought they didn’t have a chance to do it this year.
Well, they did it, by using guts and determination and skill once again. They defeated two higher seeded teams in the Section Tournament to do it, too.
They deserve a lot of congratulations.
So do the other Buc fall sports teams. Not only did the football Bucs go to state, so did the girls tennis team and a member of the cross country team. And the volleyball Buccaneers, while they didn’t get to the state, had one whale of a great season as well.
Kudos to them all.
And now let’s get ready for the winter high school sports season. We are turning attention to getting our sports preview special section ready to go, now that we are done with all the fall sports.
I am thankful for many things this Thanksgiving week. But one more thing just came to me.
Thank goodness basketball, wrestling and gymnastics are all held indoors in a nice warm gym.