Photo by Hillary Ehlen
It would be the last chance for us to watch the Bison as students, and probably the last guys trip we’d take before we eventually spread out across the country after graduation. So, for the second straight year, my buddies and I hopped into a car (literally hopped, we were that excited) and drove 1,074 miles to Frisco, Texas, for the FCS National Championship game.
For those who have made the trip down, you know it’s not the most interesting of drives.
The thing that keeps you going is the end destination, though. That warm Texas sun, a plethora of things to see and do and of course the game was the juice we needed to drive through the Midwest night. That, and a handful of 5-Hour Energy drinks, which prompted the conversation of whether drinking two 5-Hour Energy drinks gives you ten hours of energy or five hours of double energy. We argued for at least an hour, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.
We arrived in Denton, Texas, around 1 p.m. Friday and checked into our hotel. We were interested in taking a quick swim in their pool, but it was filled with green mold so we took a nap instead – which is never a bad Plan B. That night, we went to Dallas to check out the area where John F. Kennedy was assassinated and learned a few different theories from what seemed to be educated Dallas locals. It was both enjoyable and enriching.
After, we headed to the Boardwalk at Granite Park in Plano, Texas, for some appetizers and drinks. It was a really beautiful area, and the experience was made even better when, after the waitress forgot one small appetizer, decided to load us up with free food and beverages for the rest of the evening. If that’s not living proof the Lord looks out for poor college kids, then I don’t know what is.
Some 12 hours later, we headed to the main event – the title game. Fargo South was hoppin’. The tailgating once again didn’t disappoint. Per usual, it was a sweet atmosphere outside Toyota Stadium.
After catching up with a few former colleagues at NDSU Athletics that I hadn’t seen in a while, we decided to enter Toyota Stadium and snatch up the best area to stand for the game given our standing-room-only tickets. We ended up at the 50-yard line and in the sun.
The game really provided everything we could’ve asked for. Trick plays. Easton Stick putting on a clinic in his last game in green and gold. The game coming down to the final few minutes. In the end, North Dakota State’s dynasty continued winning its seventh national championship in eight years and sending Chris Klieman and 24 seniors out on top.
I left the stadium with a very red and painful sunburn on the left side of my face, where the hot Texas sun was glaring, and with a developing headache – probably from dehydration. I guess that’s what happens when you’re so focused on the game you forget to replenish your fluids.
Later that day, headache still intact and friends napping, I walked across the street from our hotel to a Waffle House to get away for a little. The waitress was so nice and friendly and fully aware the Bison had won the championship earlier that day. I received comments like “We love having you guys down here. Y’all are so friendly every time you visit us” and “Please keep winning so you can keep coming down.”
It made me proud to be associated with a culture that’s developed a standup reputation across Texas throughout the decade. On the flip side, I’d be lying if it didn’t make me a little sad that my time in this area is coming to an end.
The good thing for you: considering the dearth of young talent that’s been waiting patiently for their turn, I’d bet that’s the only thing that will be coming to an end.
The Bison will be back. And that Waffle House waitress will be waiting.
I’m Dan Slaubaugh, and this is your Slaubaugh Scoop.
Thanks for reading. Have a wonderful February. Go Bison.