Monday, September 17, 2012

College Football in the deep south

So I had the wonderful opportunity to go to my first ever college football game on Saturday September 15th.  What a treat for me that my first college football experience would be a large southern school.  It did not disappoint.  Those southern folks really know how to throw a party.  I was impressed.

So, want to ‘experience’ it with me?  Follow along…
It started in the early morning hours on Saturday.  The Clemson-Furman game was at 3:00-pm  and we were going because it was family weekend at Clemson and the parent’s council arranged for the family to get tickets to the game.
We were heading to campus to visit with Eric early leaving the hotel at 8:30am, but along the way, we saw many, many cars, trucks, party busses and the like on the road from I-85 to the school.  These people are INTO it.  Every car had at least a tiger paw on it.  Most had multiple flags, bumper stickers and the like.  And some were OVER THE TOP.  We saw one ‘tail-gate’ bus that was painted orange and purple, Clemson written all over it with speakers on the outside. Yup, they were sharing their music (my husband was not a fan.)  Sorry, didn't get a picture of that one, but I did get pictures of some of the others.
Once we got to campus, at 9:00am, some of the tail-gates were already set up and cooking – all throughout the campus.   If there was a patch of grass or a parking space, there was a tail-gate going. The real professionals hd a generator, satellite dish and tent.  All had food, tiger decorations and a lot of orange.
So let’s talk about the fashion.  Oh my word. I thought Chatham MA was preppy.  The men and women of South Carolina really dressed up for the event.  Honestly I had no idea there were so many different styles and patterns for an orange sundress.  And the men.  What a crack-up.  No red necks here.  No sir ee.   We are talking button down shirts, ties (often bow ties), jackets and khaki’s.  And this is the college kids!  The college girls were wearing either an orange sundress with purple jewelry, a purple sundress with orange jewelry or a white dress with orange accessories (belt, flower pin…)  Some of the girls had nice shorts on with a fancy orange top, but mostly it was dresses.   Oh and cowboy boots.  The moms were wearing white capri’s with a fancy orange top or a more structured orange sundress with sandals.  

 So, what about the game?  Well Clemson is known to have the most exciting 3 minutes of college football because of the exciting way they start their games.  The buss's pull up outside the stadium (known as Death Valley.)  The players get out and they open the gates.  The players all touch ‘the rock’ and then run down the small grass hill (that later becomes the student seating area) and take the field, all while thousands of orange balloons are released in the air following a cannon shot.  The band plays, the players take the field and the crowd goes wild.  They announce each player and then it’s time for kick-off.  You don’t want to miss it folks. It was very cool, even from our nose bleed seats.

The balloons are poised and ready to go... they are putting down the 'orange' carpet.

Here comes the marching band.....
 The balloons are being release.
 Then the game begins.  It was an easy victory for Clemson.  Furman is a much smaller team and didn’t stand a chance.  Every time Clemson scored, the Tiger (mascot) would do push ups for the number of points.  I’m sure the poor tiger was not thrilled that Clemson won  41-7.  Every touch down, every field goal meant a significant push-up effort for the guy.  The crowd would go crazy when he did them, but it was hot and then add the tiger outfit, he was working.
Half time found most of the audience leaving.  What they do is they go back to their tail-gate and watch the second half from the TV they mount on the back of the truck.   I’m not sure why they watch the second half from the tailgate and not the stadium, from what I could tell many of them had great seats, but that certainly seemed like the tradition.

We stayed through the end of the 3rd quarter.  It was clear we would win and it was hot.  We headed out and found a pizza place.  The party continued all over town all evening long.  We saw tail-gates still going when we left the campus at 8:30pm.
Thanks for visiting my blog.  I hope you can get to a southern football college game sometime in your life.

1 comment:

Karen said...

So the guys can get away with repeating their orange-shirt outfits but what I want to know is do these ladies have a bunch of orange dresses to get them through the season??

What a hoot! I knew football was big in the south, but I guess it is really BIG! Sounds like you had a good weekend.