Watching football last night, I saw a commercial for a game being played this evening between the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings. It was noted that this would be the first time the Vikings would be playing an outdoor game in Minnesota since December 20, 1981 (they've played in a dome since then, a dome that collapsed earlier this month due to the heavy amount of snow that fell).
They also showed a few seconds of that last game, played where the Mall of America is now located. The quarterback for Minnesota back then was Tommy Kramer.
I liked how we had the same first name.
This was right around the time that I was getting into the NFL. My dad and uncle helped explain to me how the game worked. At my grandma's, there were a number of Sports Illustrated issues from the Vikings glory years (the mid-70's) when they went to four Super Bowls.
Looking to get my mitts on as much info about the game as possible, I bought a paperback book that had all the major NFL records in it; it told me who all the past Super Bowl winners were, which quarterback had the most passing yards (the Vikings' 70's QB, Fran Tarkenton), and how to have sex with a cup on.
I had a game I liked to play with myself in the backyard. We had a one-car garage and I'd take a tennis ball and glove and throw the ball onto the garage's shingles; the garage had a slant to it. I would aim for a specific row and then try to catch the ball as it came down. Sometimes I would aim for the highest row (closest to the other side) without the ball going over. Playing there, I was actually in the neighbors' yard, but they didn't seem to mind.
It was while walking around to the other side of the garage that I had one of the scariest moments of my life. It was close to dusk and as I passed the entrance to the garage's shed, a mass of black flew not a foot in front of me. It had come out of the shed's broken window, a cat, it turned out to be.
I also recall playing a game of croquet with my family in that back yard. My parents had bought a nice set and we had a good time. I don't remember playing again, however. Is it because we didn't or because the other times weren't as memorable as the others? Same thing for a supper we had on our picnic table in the backyard. During that supper, Billy Joel's "Uptown Girl" played.
There was also a good deal of excitement the day our parents bought us a deluxe swing set. Not only did it have the swings, but also a slide, one of those metal bar things that girls can dangle from (precursor to the stripper pole), and a 2-seat device that could go back and forth. I was a bit big for the contraption when it arrived, but had to admit that it was a nice addition to the yard. Truth be told, I probably had more fun grabbing a portion of the new circular clothesline we had and spinning it clockwise or counter, depending on my mood. I had zero interest in the garden my mother tended though the rhubarb it produced was fantastic.