Family's football road trip makes stop in W.Va.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A family from the Pacific Northwest is living every football fan's dream this weekend. And a good chunk of it was spent right here in West Virginia.
Wayne Lundberg, 70, of Redmond. Wash., near Seattle, has been criss-crossing the eastern United States for much of the past week with two of his stepsons, attending games at the high school, college and pro level.
On Friday, the self-described football nuts took in Cabell Midland's 49-40 victory over George Washington in Ona, then spent the night in Clarksburg in order to get to Morgantown in time for Saturday's noon WVU game against nationally-ranked Texas Tech.
Sunday evening was spent at the Steelers-Ravens game in Pittsburgh, then they whisked off to Newark, N.J., and will attend tonight's Vikings-Giants contest in East Rutherford before heading home.
"I had a great impression of football in West Virginia - high school and college,'' Lundberg said.
The adventure started off for Lundberg and Brent Meiser, 39, of Nampa, Idaho, on Wednesday when they flew into Cleveland and toured the Pro Football Hall of Fame in nearby Canton. The two of them took in Westerville Central's 54-35 win over Westerville South in a high school game Thursday night in the northern suburbs of Columbus, Ohio.
The two drove to Morgantown the next day to meet Steve Meiser, 36, of Sherwood, Ore., who had a business meeting in Harrisburg, Pa., on Thursday before he could join the fun. The trio then zipped down the interstate to Ona for GW-Midland.
The group certainly painted a curious sight wherever they went, each dressed in their favorite school's colors - Lundberg in his University of Washington purple and gold, Steve Meiser in Oregon green and yellow and Brent Meiser in Boise State blue and orange.
"A lot of people thought we were scouts because of the [clothes] we wore,'' Brent Meiser said. "It was kind of funny.''
This isn't the first time Lundberg took off on an extended football blitz with one of his sons (which is what he calls them instead of stepsons - "I hate that word,'' he said).
Four years ago, he and Steve made a similar trek, hitting a high school game in Texas on Thursday, then driving to the Boise State at Louisiana Tech on Friday and LSU at Alabama Saturday before flying to Philadelphia for the Eagles-Cowboys game on Monday.
The three split driving duties on their current tour, during which they not only gorged themselves on football but also took the time to check out the scenic countryside of the Ohio-West Virginia-Pennsylvania region.
"What we saw of the state of West Virginia was really beautiful,'' Lundberg said. "I anticipated what we might see and most of the time it met with my expectations, rolling hills and forests and leaves turning. It was really pleasant.''
All three visitors were quick to point out the hospitality they received during their adventure, especially in Ona.
Cabell Midland served as a gracious host Friday for Lundberg and sons, introducing them to the crowd just before kickoff and giving them sideline passes to watch the game from field level and partake of the Touchdown Club's pregame meal.
"I had about a half-dozen people come up to talk about what we were doing,'' Lundberg said about fans at GW-Midland. "I spent most of the third quarter talking to one fellow who was really interested in the state of Washington and what Seattle was like.
"The facilities there were first-rate, significantly better than at the Westerville school we saw. Their soccer, softball, baseball fields were beautiful-looking, and those people should be proud of what they've got.''
Lundberg said the three also enjoyed the atmosphere at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown.
"It was really interesting,'' he said. "I think the folks get into the game a lot there - 'Let's go, Mountaineers,' ringing back and forth in the stadium. It was fun to experience.
"It was just a friendly crowd. About halfway through the game, one lady tapped me on the shoulder and asked me what my Huskies hat stood for. She thought it might be Connecticut or some local high school in West Virginia that had Huskies as a mascot.
"We sure got some strange looks coming into the stadium because of our clothes. But everyone was very friendly and took the time to say hello. We felt very much at ease visiting with people.''
The venture obviously took a lot of planning and patience, but all three were glad they did it.
"I would do it again in a heartbeat,'' Lundberg said.
Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.