Viking Days 2009: There Was No Place Like Home
Monday, October 19, 2009
Argus Leader Photo Gallery:
Augustana football is back on campus. Weaving through the sea of fans at the brand new Kirkeby-Over Stadium, little nuggets of history pop up everywhere.
"I was at the last homecoming game on campus in the 1950's," says David Lerseth. He comes from a family of Vikings. His dad played basketball and football for Augie, he and his brother went there, and so did his kids. Needless to say, Augustana holds a special place in his heart.
Then there are the boys of '79, together again 30 years past their playing prime.
"Most of us made it back. To see them, its hard to believe 30 years have gone by," says Bill O'Connor.
"To me, those are the best days of my life, when I played football here at Augie," Barry Wylde says.
O'Connor and Wylde were teammates then, and now they're teammates again. This time, in the stands as two of the more than five thousand in attendance. The on field action prompts reflection of days gone by.
"It made me feel like a kid again, feeling young. I wish I could get out there and put the pads on and play," Wylde says through a smile.
O'Connor agrees. "It would be fun to go step back out there and play again!"
For them, the renewed sense of Viking pride will have to do.
After all, its a level of pride that hasn't been felt since the mid 1950's.
"It's a whole sense of a feeling of community coming back together at Augustana. Its just a great day!" says Lerseth.
"Its hard to imagine life without Augie," says O'Connor.