Last month–Friday, July 15th, to be exact–I took two of my nieces to a Minnesota Thunder game at James Griffin Stadium and, I gotta tell you, I had a blast.
My two nieces are soccer fans, so I decided to treat them to a game. Me, I’m not much of a fan. I used to play goalie when I was a kid and used to follow the Minnesota Kicks–even got my picture taken with one of the Kicks’ stars, Alan Merrick. I’ve always thought the game was much more fun to play than to watch. But my nieces love it, so I’m game.
I’ve got a very strong aversion to nosebleed seats–probably because I’m used to going to sporting events at the H.H.H. Metrodome, a venue that is good only for truck-pulls and rollerblades (not that I’d really know, I just know it ain’t no good for sports or concerts)–so I decided to get the best seats I could for the kids…and myself.
The Thunder’s ticket prices top out at $20, for which you get on-the-field, 10-yards-from-the-sideline seats. And they are, without a doubt, the best value for your pro sports money in town. No other professional sports team offers you seats as close to the action for the price as these tickets do–even the St. Paul Saints. And, by the way, any seat at James Griffin Stadium will be better than any seat at the Metrodome.
The game we went to was on a night with beautiful weather and against the Montreal Impact, who, at that point in the season, had not lost a game. The Thunder gave up an early goal on a ball that bounced off the hands of goalkeeper Joe Warren but kept up with an opponent who, as my niece remarked, was far more aware of where their players were on the field than the home team. It’s true, and it showed in the Impact’s passing game because the visitors just seemed much more crisp. Nevertheless, the Thunder kept the Impact from scoring the rest of the game and, toward the end, turned up the heat and created several scoring opportunities for themselves that, utlimately, they just didn’t cash in on.
But, damn. It was exciting. It was exciting to be so close to the action and be able to see so clearly how the teams were playing. My nieces absolutely loved it. It did not hurt at all that before the game began they were each given–given–a free leather, regulation-sized soccer ball.
Since I’m not a huge soccer fan, I really thought the most enjoyment I’d get out of it was that my nieces were having a good time. But it was a blast.
It’s a great way to spend a summer evening.