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  • Back in the 80's, football hooliganism was a huge issue.

    It was impossible to go to a football game without a fight breaking out. Not just fisticuffs between two antagonists, but bloody, murderous, sharp edged, hateful, mob violence. The 80's were not pleasant years. You didn't go to watch a football game, you went for the fight.

    It became so bad that British teams were banned from European and International matches. Football Clubs were made to sort out their supporters, ban the troublemakers, get back to the true sport.

    So, when I was in Rapid City in 1984, imagine my fears when I was invited to see a college football game. I just pictured a smaller riot than the 20,000+ rampaging hooligans I was used to.

    I wasn't prepared for the four hour spectacle that was College Football.

    I was staying at the Rapid City TravelLodge, just down the street from the local Court House and Denny's (damn good eggs benedict).

    I made many friends during my stay at the hotel. None more than Mary Dahl who worked the hotel bar. Mary became a great friend. She would loan me her car so I could go sightseeing, she took me to restaurants for dinner, and it was Mary who invited me to the college football game. The Rapid City School of Mines and Technology, The Hardrockers were playing.

    What a day it was. The atmosphere was electric! The bleachers were packed. Everyone was there to have a good time. The guys next to me hauled a car battery and a portable TV so they could keep tabs on another college game while they watched the Hardrockers. Beer coolers were the norm.

    The far side of the field, opposite the bleachers, was the drive in area. Tailgate BBQ's with friends and families.

    The cheerleaders entertained the crowd with their agile gymnastics, the marching troupe, proud in their uniforms paraded in front of the stands, and to punctuate the intervals, there was the deafening canon.

    There were no fights, no arguments, no disagreements. Everyone enjoyed the football and had a great day.

    I loved the family atmosphere, the fun of the game, the spectacle of the cheerleaders. It was a family day out and no matter who won or lost, everyone cheered and celebrated, everyone had a great time. This was sport, it was fun, and everyone enjoyed it.

    At then end of the game, as everyone left, I caught a couple of the guys and asked if I could have my photo taken with them.

    Serendipity? They were twins.

    From the 1984 Program, they are:

    No 50, Jim Hoffman, Position, Defensive End.

    No 65, Jon Hoffman, Position, Offensive Guard

    Both were from Vermillion, South Dakota.

    Oh, and for those interested, The Hardrockers played Montana Tech, and the Hardrockers won, 18 to 11.
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