For the second consecutive year, Sid and I returned to where I attended college and where I started my professional career. Like we did in October 2021, we visited for a Griz football weekend. And, just like last year, it was a blast.
On Saturday, we hit the road at 5:30 a.m. We made it to Missoula by 10 a.m. and Ubered from our hotel parking lot to the Press Box (aka the most famous bar in town). After a quick round we walked across the footbridge to campus as we admired the most beautiful view of any college campus in the country.
We scored free Chick-fil-A sandwiches and took them over to the Adams Center where we watched the Griz Walk. Just with many other college football programs, the University of Montana football team marches through a portion of campus lined with supporters before going to their locker room to dress. After we participated in that tradition, we enjoyed the one-of-a-kind tailgating that Griz football boasts. I also had the opportunity to visit with Seth Bodnar, the president of the University of Montana.
Sid and I entered Washington-Grizzly Stadium in time to watch the entire pregame show. From there we basked in the glorious October sun to watch the Griz battle the University of Idaho Vandals. Unfortunately, UM would come up a little short but we sure enjoyed being part of the crowd and cheering hard for four quarters.
After the game we jumped on a shuttle that took us to downtown Missoula. We barhopped as I watched other college football games and Sid tried her luck at the gaming machines. Once that luck ran dry, we hopped an Uber to our hotel.
Once we checked in, we walked across the street to the Montana Club for dinner. We had the best date as we enjoyed quality food and watched the epic 18-inning marathon between the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros. After we paid the tab we made a quick visit to Dairy Queen and brought back a couple Blizzards to our room. We spent the rest of the night eating ice cream and watching TV.
On Sunday morning it was mass at St. Francis Xavier, a parish that turned 130 years old in 2022! Fr. Steve Lantry presided and preached about what God’s justice looks like. It is always a gift to return to the parish that I was a parishioner at back in my early-to-mid-20s.
After mass, it was time for brunch. Sid and I went to the Oxford, a business that is even older than St. Francis Xavier—it was established in 1883. We sat at the kitchen bar that overlooks the grill and watched the chef make meal after meal. Think of it like American hibachi!
We then picked up treats at Mary’s Mountain Cookies. We did the same thing last year too as I think a new tradition is brewing.
To cap off the trip, we returned to campus and explored my old stomping grounds. To see all the new buildings mixed in with many of the timeless landmarks was a thrill. When we finished, we drove down the gorgeous university district streets lined with trees in different stages of autumn-colored leaves and then headed for the freeway where we made the drive home to Spokane.
The next time we do this trip, we hope to bring a couple of Griz cubs with us. We think that Sloan and Beau might be ready for a Missoula trip once the 2023 football season comes around. With that said, thanks so much to my mom and dad for watching them this past weekend (we brought them home some of those cookies for their troubles)—Sid and I sure enjoyed ourselves! Don’t Blink.