Yesterday, I took The Kid to the University of New Mexico at San Diego State football game at Qualcomm Stadium. This was the first college football game I’ve been to since I was in college. While at UNM, I went to all of the home football games in 1984, 1985, 1986, and 1987 as part of the band. A scheduling conflict kept me from joining the band in 1988 – I went to school on the 5 year plan, or at least it worked out that way – but I made at least one game.
We did end up leaving at the beginning of the 2nd half because The Kid got sick (either from the two bites of the hot dog he had, or for some other reason yet to be determined). He is feeling better now.
At least one aspect of the game hasn’t changed since my days in college – UNM wasn’t playing a great game. OK, for several years during the last decade or so, UNM was quite competitive even make three appearances in the greatly expanded Bowl game scene. But in the late 1980′s, and for the last few seasons, UNM has had a loosing record. In the half of yesterday’s game I saw, they didn’t do too badly – holding the Azteks to 2 touchdowns, and putting together one lightening drive to score their touchdown. They were also involved in what had to be one of the ugliest plays I’ve ever seen: during the closing seconds of the first half, a game of volleyball developed near the UNM goal line (alas, on the far side of the field from our seats) after the SDSU receiver failed to catch the ball. This was so bad that it had to go to the video reviewers to determine if SDSU had ever been in control of the ball in the end zone (or so I guess based on the need for review with time expired).
On the other hand, there were some significant changes that I noticed. Most noticeable to me was a much stronger presence from the booth announcer and sponsorships. Additionally, there was more music being played over the PA system than from the band. I don’t recall real well the other time I was in this stadium (albiet under its previous moniker of Jack Murphy Stadium) for a UNM vs. SDSU game in 1984. But my memories of games in Albuquerque, Salt Late City (Utah), Fort Collins (Colorado State) and Tucson (Arizona) was that the booth announcer stuck to game information and introductions, and only the band or bands provided music for the game.
I did enjoy the SDSU band – even if they played most of both the short half-time show and the pre-game show to the other side of the stands. I would have loved it if the UNM band had repeated their 1984 out of town trip and been there, but seeing the home school’s band was still pretty good. I did notice that they seem to have completely eschewed any pretense of having anyone other than the band director directing – unless they have one drum major who looks to be closer to my age and stands atop a tall ladder out of uniform.
I enjoyed myself, and may well repeat the experience in two years when it is likely that the UNM/SDSU game is again in San Diego.