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How Grandpa Dealt with Gopher Away Games

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I could give you a historic preview of Nebraska, filled with photos like this one of Bernie Bierman smoking heaters on the sideline in 1932.

Bernie Berman on the bench against Nebraska, 10/18/1932, Gophers won 7-6 via MNHS

Or I could tell you all about Gophers head coach DOCTOR Williams who went out onto the field and saved lives during the 1907 Nebraska game.

Doc Williams bandaging Rademacher's head before/during/after the Gopher beat Nebraska 8-5 in 1907 via MNHS

But I thought this week would be more fun to talk about what it was like for Minnesota fans when the Gophers played road games back in the day. It's almost become a cliche: before pro sports came to town, the Gophers were king. And I think that is epitomized in this photo.

Boys climbing trees to watch this 1900 Gopher game. via MNHS

Climbing trees to catch a glimpse of a University of Minnesota football game? You know the student section was full back then. So home games were wild, that's a given, but when the mighty double g's went on the road it's not like Gopher rubes of yesteryear could just sit back and watch the game on the Big Ten Network. So they came up with a lot of interesting ways to follow the action.

This is great. A gridiron was drawn on the street in downtown Minneapolis in front of the Minneapolis Journal newspaper building for an away game in 1904. Telegraphs would come into the Journal and then reporters would draw on the gridiron the game. Think of it as the 1904 version of ESPN's Gamecast. As Minnesota only played two away games in '04 we can be pretty sure this photo depicts the crowd following either the Gophers versus Iowa or Northwestern.

Play-by-Play on the blackboard! 1925 via MNHS

I know what you're thinking, standing in the street in November is for chumps. By 1925 following the play-by-play action of your local team had moved comfortably indoors. Here is an auditorium of Gopher rooters following the 1925 Little Brown Jug Game.

WCCO radio booth, undated via MNHS

Sure you could listen to an away game on WCCO radio. But even in the 1920s everyone thought that station was for old people.

Students after a game, 1910 via MNHS

Your last option would have been to hop on a train and watch the game live. This was actually a very popular option in the 1920s & 1930s. Minnesota fans traveled very well and I've read newspaper reports of 10,000-20,000 Gopher fans going to Chicago for games against UChicago, or Northwestern.

As for me in 2014, I've got a 60 inch TV, a keg of homebrew, and enough juicy lucy's to enjoy this Saturday of football from the comforts of my own home. This is not an invitation to my house. I'm just bragging while I figure out how to tie my modern amenities to a vaguely planned out post about  what away games used to be like for fans. Eh, The End.