Friday, October 26, 2007

Greetings from Big Sky country

Welcome to Pocatello, Idaho, where’s it’s a cool 40 degrees as I attempt to write blog entry No. 101.
While it’s a little cold for us Californians, Pocatello – and the rest of Big Sky country for that matter – is beautiful this time of year. The leaves are turning. There’s snow atop the mountains. The late-afternoon sunsets are gorgeous (as you can see in my great camera phone shot of Holt Arena).
It’s really not that cold during the day, but I’m sure the Cal Poly football team is happy Saturday’s game is indoors at Idaho State’s good ol’ Holt Arena.
Holt Arena, for those who have never been here, is by far the oldest “dome” in Division I football.
The arena, originally called the Mini Dome, was built in the early 1970s entirely by voluntary student fees and was the first covered football stadium built on a college campus.
The idea of a covered venue, which would protect the Idaho State Bengals – and fair-weather sportswriters – from the elements over the latter half of the season, was dreamed up by former athletic director Milton “Dubby” Holt.
The only domed arena built before 12,000-seat Holt Arena was the Houston Astrodome. And like the Astrodome, the surface at Holt Arena is good old-fashioned Astroturf, which was reset in 1999 but still gets a thumbs down from most of the Mustangs.
I remember Cal Poly quarterback Chris Peterson said Astroturf was the “worst invention ever” when he played here a few years back. Peterson also had one of the nastiest rug burns I’ve ever seen on that day.
Welcome to Pocatello.

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