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Column: Another delay at the alma mater

My mom was recently able to make a trip from Wyoming to visit us over Labor Day weekend.

During her near-week stay, we watched the University of Wyoming football team play a ranked Texas Tech team in a game nationally televised on CBS.

I have watched hundreds of Wyoming games on various networks, but it was a real treat to see them get the primetime slot on the second-most-watched network in the country. It brought back memories of the last time they had a primetime spot on a “big three” network and a bus trip that never seemed to end.

A few years back, there was a lot of buzz around the University of Utah football team, their Head Coach Urban Meyer, and eventual number one draft pick Alex Smith. With the Utes ranked number seven in the polls, ABC thought it would be a splendid idea to travel to Laramie in November for a primetime matchup.

It was standard for someone in my hometown of Rock Springs to charter a bus for football games, so I and a few buddies signed up for a seat. Night games in November are never a great idea in Laramie, but we were very excited the entire three-hour trip. There was probably more weight in beer than humans on the bus, but we took that as a challenge, and by the time we arrived, it was a festive crew.

A little while before kickoff, something happened with the additional lights brought in by ABC, and the game was delayed. For the first few minutes of the delay, everyone was still happy from the festivities of the drive, but then it started to get really cold. I can’t remember the exact temperature, but it was pretty close to below zero.

There was little communication with the fans about what was happening, so people just started walking across the street to the bar, and many in our group sat on the bus.

I decided to stick around and wait it out and was joined by my younger sister, a freshman at the University of Wyoming. Since it was cold, we let her have a few sips of our “peppermint drink,” which quickly warmed her up.

The game finally kicked off a couple of hours later, but many of the ABC affiliates never aired it.

That was probably a good thing.

It was ugly, and by halftime, I was on the bus. I wanted to cheer on my beloved Pokes, but they were down four or five touchdowns, and I couldn’t feel my hands or feet. It seemed like we were in Laramie for a week, but we finally hit the road around 11 p.m. We would have gotten out of there sooner, but one guy on our bus had gone to the bar before kickoff and never returned. He ended up missing the ride home.

As soon as it was announced CBS would be airing the opening game of the 2023 Wyoming schedule, I was happy because there was no way the cold would wreak havoc with the lights.

It was fun to have my mom to watch a Wyoming game with, and we were super excited to watch.

It turns out the weather was again not going to cooperate with Wyoming and a game on a “big three” network.

We were informed that lighting had delayed the game as soon as we turned on the pregame. I was not surprised but was a little disheartened that we might not get to watch the game if the local affiliate did not want to play the waiting game.

About 70 minutes after the original start time, the game started. We were whooping and hollering, yelling, “Go Pokes,” and having a grand time. Within a few minutes, Texas Tech jumped out to a 17-0 lead, and things got a little quiet.

Wyoming would chip away and cut the lead to 17-10 at halftime. As bad as they played in the first quarter, they did not give up and made it a ball game.

My mom had used much of her energy and headed to bed in the third quarter. When Wyoming took a 20-17 lead in the fourth, I might have made some noise, and she came out to join us.

We watched a crazy ending, with Wyoming winning in double overtime.

It was a great ending to a great football game, and even better to watch with family.

Someday, I will return to watch a game at my alma mater, but maybe I’ll wait for them to get a dome first.