Monday nights offer more than just a football game
October 5, 2006
When the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Green Bay Packers 31 to nine in the Monday Night Football match-up last week, about 60 UW-River Falls students gathered at Brandy’s to watch the hometown favorite get defeated.
The NFL has been promoting the Monday Night Football game as the highlighted match each week for many years, and the Student Center has opted to make the game the center of a weekly gathering, open to all students.
In its second year, the Monday night event has just begun to gain popularity again on campus. Recreational Leadership Coordinator Kurran Sagan said that mostly students who live on campus have been showing up this year, whereas last year the turnout was predominately a group of off-campus students who came each week.
Along with a few student staff members, Sagan has used funds from the general Student Center budget to offer free pizza or hot dogs, pop and snacks to the students. The convenient on-campus location also boasts a projection screen for the game, free pool, ping-pong, foosball and a no-limit Texas Hold-’em tournament.
Though the game is physically the most dominant aspect of the Monday night event, students admit that it is the free food and the Packers (when they play) that draws their attention.
“There’s free food,” junior Amber Dallager said. “It’s a good place to meet and hang out. The game isn’t really that important to me.”
Dallager, a Vikings fan, said she came to the same event on several occasions last fall and was re-introduced to it after reading e-mails sent to her student account.
Other opportunities for students to learn about the Monday Night Football event is through posters in dorms and in the Student Center and word of mouth. Several students in attendance on Monday night were brought by others who had been to a gathering in the past.
R.J. Hoock, a senior in pre-pharmacy, and his wife, senior Jamie Hoock, came to the event this week because a friend of theirs recommended it.
“It’s kind of nice,” Jamie said. “He can watch the game, and I can do my homework.”
Their friend, graduate student Luke Seibert, brought the Hoocks this year and admitted that the free food was the main intrigue for him.
Whether or not the Minnesota Vikings or Green Bay Packers are playing in the game, fans show up to watch any two teams battle. Many watch players each Monday evening who support their online fantasy football teams.
Last week’s game between the Packers and Eagles drew the largest crowd so far this fall. On average, 30-35 students have shown up for Monday Night Football, but that number doubled on Monday night.
“With the Packers game we had a pretty good crowd,” Sagan said. “We were definitely impressed with the turnout. We went through a lot of hot dogs.”
Even though the University is located in Wisconsin, Sagan said there is a strong support for their rivals, the Minnesota Vikings.
“Vikings may tend to be the favorite,” Sagan said. “But Packers fans always have a stronger turnout.”
The dedication of Minnesota Vikings fans will be tested in four weeks on Oct. 20 when they take on the New England Patriots at home in the Metrodome. To watch this or any Monday night game, the event is in Brandy’s in the lower level of the Student Center at 7 p.m.