As he charged down the field to cover the opening kickoff, Crawford Jordan of the St. Paul Pigs football team clumsily fell down, two yards in front of a blocker.
The former Minnesota football captain would later blame the soft field at Park Center High School for his inadvertent tumble.
Jordan’s troubles continued in Sunday’s game. On the second play from scrimmage, the Minneapolis Lumberjacks broke an 80-yard touchdown run. Jordan chased the running back downfield, diving at the 5-yard line in a vain attempt to stop the runner from scoring.
Again, the soft field was blamed for the numerous slips by the Pigs defense on the run. But Jordan and the Pigs would recover and go on to win the semifinal playoff game 34-7. The team now advances to the Mid-America Football League championship game Sunday Oct. 3rd.
His game miscues aside, Jordan has a good foothold on where football with the Pigs fits into his life, but admits it hasn’t been easy revisiting his maroon and gold football past.
“My feelings for football go deeper than anything in my life, but there are other things going on in my life now,” Jordan said. “The University of Minnesota was a phase of my life, but you can’t be a college student forever. I’m in the work force and I’m trying to move up that corporate ladder.”
A University graduate in 1998, Jordan now works as a media coordinator for the Fallon McElligott Advertising Agency in downtown Minneapolis. With accounts for companies like United Airlines, Nordstroms and Sports Illustrated, Jordan said he’s had his hands full the past couple of weeks at the office. But it’s Jordan’s head that was full of anxious thoughts last weekend before the Gophers game against Illinois State.
“I was really scared and nervous before the game because I didn’t know how to feel being there,” Jordan said of his first visit to the Metrodome since his last game in November 1997. “I didn’t know if it was going to bring out the emotions in me, or if I was just going to feel indifferent about the whole thing.
“The first half I sat there and I watched the sidelines and the little things that I saw every week — people carrying the cords, people carrying the water, the trainers and … gosh, it was weird.”
During halftime, as Jordan went to the restroom for conventional relief, he found equally relieving sanctuary in the form of past Gophers players.
“I saw about 20 of my old teammates congregated together,” Jordan said. “I asked them how the hell did they cope with (the anxiety), and they said after the first one you’ll be alright. So I’ll look forward to the next one.”
Jordan is also looking forward to playing in the MFL championship game next weekend. The Pigs will go in 8-0, and Jordan, whose Gophers teams won only 13 times in his four-year career, couldn’t be happier.
“It’s unbelievable, it’s great,” Jordan said. “I don’t know what it feels like to lose anymore. I refuse to lose in this league.”
While losing has become an afterthought for Jordan, the onetime guest columnist for The Minnesota Daily has kept his contemplative approach to his football experiences.
“This league is full of people who didn’t go to big schools, who may not have even played in college,” Jordan said of the MFL. “More than anything they love the game, they love to play and they want to be around it. It feels good to be around those kind of people.”
Jordan appears right at home on the field in a helmet and shoulder pads, but concedes that football is no longer at the forefront of his livelihood.
“That happens, that’s the natural progression of things,” Jordan said. “At one point or another you’re going to have to hang it up and say you can watch it on TV, or you can relive it in your head. But for me that’s sooner than later, just because I have other goals in my life. There are a lot more hills I want to climb and battles I want to win.”
David La Vaque covers football and welcomes comments at [email protected]