A freshman’s guide to Minnesota athletics, life

Well fellow rodents, another first day of class has come and gone. Somehow, thousands of the lost and half-inebriated managed to bump off each other and get where they were supposed to go.
There will never be that many people in any of your classes again, save for the day of the final. But we all know the beginning of class is a mere harbinger of bigger and better things: another busy sports season is heating up.
Autumn is the best season for many reasons, but mainly for the sports. The stretch run will soon weed out baseball pretenders, half of the NFL is still undefeated and Gophers sports are gearing up.
For those new to the university sports scene, let this column be your guide to a wonderful year here in the land of many lakes. Net: In other words, listen up newbies. And yes, we even invited our friend Network to impart a few words of wisdom.
For all you freshpeople out there, remember, when meeting new people, sports are always a good topic of conversation. Let me give you an example.
You and some of your dorm-bound buddies have finally ventured outside, under cover of darkness, to a crowded and sweaty house party. Net: But oops! It’s only a rest stop bathroom! After your fifth can of Natural Ice, you lose control and vomit on the girl next to you, ruining her white shoes and splashing up onto her stretchy pants.
You need something to break the ice. Throw out “Tiger Woods seems to play golf well,” and attempt to look debonair. Net: Or “How about that local sports team?”
I’m sure you’ve probably heard a lot about the Gopher basketball scandal. It’s not as bad as you’ve heard.
It’s much, much worse.
Frankly, though the NCAA probably won’t kill the Gopher basketball team, if this scandal isn’t bad enough to warrant the death penalty, nothing will ever be. So practice saying “That freaking Haskins,” while shaking your head disgustedly.
The volleyball team plays national powers like Penn State at home routinely. Ditto the soccer team, who has hosted two ranked opponents while the rest of us were busy trying to hide the burns on the apartment floor.
Here’s a useful tidbit. Net: Hockey! Football tickets are cheap. This year’s schedule is less than stellar, but Big Ten football still rocks. Another insider note: Net: Hockey! the bars open early on Homecoming, for those who like a shot with their Egg McMuffin.
But for my hard earned, could be spent on malty beverage money, nothing beats hockey. The women are defending national champions. The men should contend nationally.
Do me a favor, will you? Net: Hockey! Go to the hockey games, and when you do, yell. Net: HOCKEYHOCKEYHOCKEYHOCKEYHOCKEYHOCKEYHOCKEY! Mariucci Arena is one of the best facilities in the nation, but has all the electricity of the Mall of America at times. Net: Not to mention the hotties! YAR! Head up to Grand Forks and listen in on a weekend series if you don’t believe me.
Don’t be intimidated by the old rich people who sit on their hands most of the game. Intimidate them. That’s the idea. You don’t have to drink before the games, but if that’s what it’s going to take, suck it up and do your part.
And I guess that’s the most important thing. Have fun with college sports. Net: Hockey! Play intramurals Net: Or instruments in hockey band if that’s your thing.
And hey, check out some non-revenue sports while you’re at it. Anything beats going to class.

Josh Linehan is the sports editor and welcomes comments at [email protected] He can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3241.