My Favorite Sporting Event Memory

My Favorite Sporting Event Memory

My Favorite Sporting Event Memory

In 1994, the then-undefeated WVU Mountaineers played the Florida Gators in the USF&G Insurance Sugar Bowl in the New Orleans Superdome. Game day was on New Year’s Day. Unfortunately, the undefeated season dream of the Mounties, led by Coach Don Nehlen, was dashed. The game was a complete blowout with WVU being handed a 41-7 loss.

While the experience on game day is one I’ll never forget, though, it was the trip that was most memorable. 

I was 12 years old when my father took me to New Orleans for the big game. Like I said, it was New Year’s. So, we did what you do in New Orleans on New Year’s Eve: We took to Bourbon Street. It was everything I’d heard about and more. In hindsight, Bourbon Street is not a place you want to take your 12-year-old. The sights and sounds I experienced were like something I’ve never seen or heard before. It was a wonderland for a kid my age and for the many adults standing shoulder to shoulder with me alike. I just took it all in. And it was a lot. I had to divert my eyes at moments. I’ll just leave it at that.

As if being on Bourbon Street on New Year’s Eve alone was not enough, it was just a matter of time before my friend and I became separated from my dad. I was having so much fun at the time, it didn’t even set in just how bad that situation was until a good hour had passed. We were free to roam the street and join the celebration completely unsupervised. But as more time passed, my worry finally began to set in. I was 12 and dependent on my dad for supervision.

I didn’t even know the name of the hotel where we were staying. Also, this was in 1993 when cell phones weren’t exactly a common thing. With no meeting spot in place as we should have had, I began to panic. My friend could have cared less. He was busy viewing the sights.

I was however, growing more and more anxious by the second. I wondered what my dad was thinking. He was also enjoying the festivities, so maybe he wasn’t even concerned. Had he even noticed I was missing?

But most times things have a way of working out. By the grace of God, in a sea of probably a couple hundred thousand drunks in New Orleans, I bumped into my dad just minutes before the ball dropped. A flood of relief came over me and, as we watched the ball drop together, I knew everything was going to be OK.

We celebrated for a few minutes and then quickly returned to the hotel safe and sound. I never told my mother about what had happened. Like I said, it all worked out. It was just too bad the Mountaineers suffered such a terrible blowout the next day. But it was a trip I will never forget.