Scapled in San Diego
Still without my wallet (See: “Disneyland – Here I come!”), and having been disappointed by my first two days in California, Brad and I set out again. This day=s objective – San Diego. The way we figured it, we could make the short trip down to San Diego, hit Sea World during the afternoon, and still have time to make it to Jack Murphy Stadium in time to scalp some tickets for the sold out Oklahoma State/Wyoming Holiday Bowl game.
The first part of the plan went well, as Brad and I had a good time at Sea World. The highlight for me was Brad getting doused by Shamu, as the killer whale swam by after the performance. We had intentionally not sat in the bottom rows of the stadium, marked in blue so you knew where the Awet zone@ would be. We had stayed dry during the performance, and were leaving the stadium went Shamu happended to swim by. The wake from this huge animal splashed out, catching Brad unaware.
Time for Phase II of our San Diego adventure.
With Wyoming bringing a large contigent to face Oklahoma State and Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders, the 1988 Holiday Bowl was a reported sell-out. Brad and I were uncertain whether any tickets would be available from scaplers, so we set out for the stadium a full two hours before game time. Good fortune seemed to be smiling upon us, as we quickly found a scapler as we approached the stadium across the vast parking lot outside Jack Murphy Stadium. Brad and I gleefully snatched up two tickets, and were quite proud of ourselves as we entered the stadium. So what if we were two hours early? We had tickets to the game! We were football fans, after all, and we would just get something to eat and soak up the atomosphere leading up to the kickoff.
Then we looked at our tickets.
We were so excited to get tickets for the game that Brad and I never bothered to check where the seats were. One of the seats was in the endzone. The second seat was right on the 50-yard line, but in the second to last row of the stadium. I lobbied for us to sit in the endzone, figuring we would be less likely to be kicked out of an adjacent seat than we would be if we tried taking two midfield seats. Brad, though, convinced me to try the better seat, reasoning that we could always leave if anyone showed up to claim the seat next to the one we had purchased.
It proved to be a great move.
Yes, we were so high in the stadium that the players looked like ants, but it was a great overall view. As a bonus, the last row of seats was taken up by a cameraman who just happened to be employed by the NFL. He was there to film the game, with emphasis on the seniors who would be eligible for the the NFL draft. As the cameraman came early to set up, we were able to strike up a conversation with him, and hear some great stories about the innerworkings of the NFL.
The Holiday Bowl itself was a disappointment. Led by Barry Sanders, the Oklahoma State Cowboys dominated the Wyoming Cowboys, 62-14. Brad and I, tired from our day=s journey and acknowledging that we still had some driving to do to get back to our hotel in Anaheim, left the game early in the fourth quarter.
Soon after the game (in which he rushed for 222 yards and five touchdowns), Sanders announced that he had played his final collegiate game, and that he would forego his senior year in order to be eligible for the NFL draft.
The final full day in California for Brad and I meant a trip to Universal Studios. In addition to the two ladies who had shown us around Disneyland, we were to meet up with my cousin Jane and a few of her friends for the rides at this famous Los Angeles attraction. The plan was to meet at the large sign near the front entrance, but Jane was a no-show. After almost an hour of waiting, we went inside.
It was only later in the day, on a fluke, that we met up. Brad and I were coming out of a gift shop, and there was Jane – bearing gifts.
As it turned out, the reason Jane had been late was that she had been driving across Los Angeles in order to retrieve my wallet. A family from Minnesota had discovered my wallet soon after I had lost it in the parking lot at Disneyland three days earlier. Looking inside, they called my emergency number, which happened to be my mother=s house back in Bozeman (remember, this was way before cellphones). I had not left an itinerary with my mother, though, and she had no way of contacting me in Los Angeles. She did, though, have my cousin=s phone number. A few calls and a drive across town later, I had my wallet back.
I never had the opportunity to meet my benefactors, but I did send them a gift package when I returned home to Montana. My trip to California had its ups and downs. The disappointment of the bowl loss hung over the trip like a dark cloud, but at least my faith in others had been restored.
My faith in the football program at the University of Colorado would also soon be rewarded.