Good grief itís that time of year again. Grab some chips and dip, stock up on your favorite beverages, break out the pot luck dishes and Velcro down folks, Velcro down!!
On Saturday afternoon, a sell-out crowd will shoehorn into Bobcat Stadium in Bozeman, while thousands of others will tune in by TV and radio for the annual Brawl of the Wild clash between the University of Montana Grizzlies and the Montana State University Bobcats.
Pride is walking the line, sometimes with a tailgate-induced swagger.
Come the end of the afternoon, half the state will be really happy and the other half pretty ticked off. This is the big one Elizabeth honey, Iím coming to join you.
Ah, football rivalry week. A day when normally calm people will paint their faces blue, gold, silver or maroon as they yell themselves hoarse cheering on the Cats or the Griz. And donít try to convince anyone in this state that itís not every bit as important as Ohio State vs. Michigan, Auburn vs. Alabama or Washington vs. Oregon.
One full year of chest puffing bragging rights is at stake.
This yearís contest takes on added fuel, not that it ever needs it, with playoffs and Big Sky Conference standings on the line. The Griz come into the game 9-2 on the year, their lone conference loss to Sacramento State.
The Cats come in 8-3, having lost to Sacramento and North Dakota in conference play.
The winner of the game will be rewarded with a higher national championship playoff seed and the Griz have an outside shot at the conference title.
Some folks wonít understand what all the fuss is about. Some folks still think the lunar landings were faked.
Some people think Adam Schiff is a straight-up guy.
Some dudes believe in Bigfoot. Some claim to have abducted by aliens. The rest of us get it.
Battle lines have already been drawn, there are no middle-of-the-roaders in this fight.
For folks like me, this is the day! Strap on the pads and get it on! Let the bad jokes fly. Put on your well-worn hats and sweatshirts supporting your team.
Let the good times roll.
Eat, drink and be merryÖat least if your team wins. If not, eat, drink and be bummed. Thereís always next year, unless the ocean levels rise high enough to cross the mountains, then no one will have to worry about it.
Iím still waiting for Al Gore to come and help me scrape the global warming off my sidewalks, but thatís politics and this is FOOTBALL!!
As events in Montana go, this is probably equal to gaining statehood.
After winning something like 10 straight, the Griz will be
Last yearís game came down to a heart-stopping last second play.
Tailgaters will be out in force before, during and after the game. One of the great characteristics of a Cat or Griz game is the way the stands empty at halftime so fans can go back to the parking lot for another overdone hot dog or cold beer.
This is Montana, have fun folks! Shake it on baby now, twist and shout. No neckties allowed should be the only rule.
Tackle hard and legally. No ripping off helmets and bonking the opposing player on the noggin.
Howl like a wolf. Scream like a banshee. Jump up and down like an astronaut walking on the surface of the sun. They call it a brawl for a reason, just let them handle that on the field of play.
Eat some of that dip, just remember no double-dipping. Chow down that last cocktail weenie and have a cookie, it will help win or lose.
Growl like a Griz and snarl like a Bobcat.
Turn down the TV volume and crank on some Metallica or George Strait. Tell the zebras (refs) to put away the yellow flags or ďfor God sakeís throw the flag.Ē
Race to the restroom during commercials or when itís time for another cold one.
Reclaim your barstool or cushy spot on the couch. Settle in for some real entertainment.
In the end, one team will win, the other will lose. Talk will fly about firing the losing coach or how the refs were from the winning teamís home town.
Its OK, the win will be savored and the pain of losing will at least ebb between now and next November.
Zowie!! Thatís a lot of advice, all free I might add, from me!! So who am I rooting for? Take out your decoder rings and take the first letter from each paragraph of this diatribe.
Figure it out, I have to go now. Just cut my finger and the blue and gold is dripping out again. Enjoy the game!!
Chuck Kvelve Bandel is a reporter for the Mineral Independent and Clark Fork Valley Press. You can look for his ďKvelveís CommentsĒ column weekly.