The Barney Game
I should have put this story to paper (or screen, in this case) a few weeks back in honor of the Sioux vs. Gophers series that was being played. I thought maybe I should save it for the UND/UM rematch in January, but I am easily sidetracked when it comes to writing stuff so I'm going to post it now. Tonight I realized that I have never told the story of "The Barney Game" in my zine or blog and it needs to be told. It shows the importance of keeping commitments to your friends and that if you are single, you should just go ahead and do the things you love and not get hung up on the social calendars, obligations, and mores of those married or in couples.
Back in the mid-to-late nineties, a friend of mine dating back to our UND days called me and invited me to a dinner party he and his wife were hosting that Saturday. I told him I couldn't make it as I was going over to my friend Turk's house to watch the Sioux/Gophers game with Turk and his brother Mark, as was my custom once a year or so. My friend pointed out that I would be watching the game with Gopher fans. His dinner party would all be attended by our UND friends and their wives. He would have the game on and wouldn't I rather watch it with Sioux fans? I said that I had already made my commitment and couldn't go back on it. What I didn't say was that I rather enjoyed watching Sioux/Gopher games with Turk and his brother, we traded snarky trash talk while keeping all eyes on the game and saved any long conversations for between periods or after the game. I also knew that "dinner party" and "serious sports watching" don't ever go hand-in-hand, and the Sioux vs. Gophers series are THE biggest events on my sports calendar.
So this was that era where every season during one of the games in Grand Forks, the Gophers would have a two or three goal lead going into the third period, and the Sioux would storm back and win the game. (I hesitate to go back and look up the details, because it seemed like this era lasted four seasons or so, but memories can be tricky things and I hate to a sweet memory of an era like this be reduced.) On this Saturday night, the Sioux rallied in the third to rally for a victory over a seemingly-insurmountable Gopher lead. It was awesome! I yukked it up while Turk and Mark muttered curses under their breath, though all three of us of course put our differences aside to have one or two more cold ones after the game to wind down the weekend.
I talked with my UND friend a few days after the game. "How about that game? Didn't you just love that third period?"
"Oh," he said, "we had to turn the game off during the second period. All the kids were getting restless and we put in a Barney video."