The family and I were at Home Depot over the weekend, and near the BBQ section there was a big sign advertising tailgating. I leaned up against it and whispered, “28 more days...28 more days”. I know some of you are about ready to pop because you just need to get there—to smell the grass mixed with the grilling on the golf course, taste your first burger, and see your first touchdown. I know how you feel. The tickets came in the mail the other day and I have to say, the cover with the jersey with our last name on it was pretty bad ass.
It brought to mind some of the game day traditions we have—the stop for french fries or other snacks on the way so we don’t get hungry waiting for Lot H to open, the very specific snacks we have to bring for our tailgate or we’ll jinx the whole darn thing, and of course, the core group of people we bring with us without whom our tailgate would be entirely different.
Then I started thinking about other universities, and how in other areas of the country, football is life. High school football stadiums in Texas look like semi-pro facilities, and they are the very definition of Friday Night Lights. I began researching traditions at other universities and found some pretty cool pre-game and game day traditions that have survived decades. Seven traditions because seven points is what I want to see on every possession. Take a look and see for yourself.
A&M has a tradition that many have heard of called the Midnight Yell. They gather at the stadium the night before, and practice cheering for the team the following day. This event draws 40-50,000 people, and is definitely an explanation for the noise level that people come to expect at Kyle Field.
University of South Carolina.
Ah, yes. The USC we don’t have to hate. I have to say, the name of this one is absolutely hilarious, but when you see what it is, it’s actually pretty awesome. About 50 yards away from Williams-Bryce Stadium is the Cockaboose Railroad, which consists of 22 train cars that you can rent out and tailgate in for the games. While it looks like a train on the outside, each train car has flat screen TV‘s, a kitchen, a roof-top deck, and a fully updated interior.
University of Tennessee and University of Washington
If you want to tailgate but also get some fishing in, look no further than these two schools. Both stadiums are close to harbors, which allows fans to take their tailgating festivities to an entirely new level on the water. Tennessee calls these folks the Vol Navy and Washington has dubbed their group Husky Harbor. I’m not sure if you could actually catch your dinner while you’re tailgating, but it sure sounds like a challenge some of my friends would be up for.
Ohio State and Michigan
If you’re into rivalries, you probably watch this game every year even if you don’t care who wins. It’s always entertaining, and like most rivalry games, the outcome can be unpredictable. One tradition for Ohio State students is the midnight plunge into Mirror Lake the week before the game. This might not sound like that big of a deal, but this game usually takes place in mid to late November, so it’s not exactly swimming weather. This explains why most jump in fully clothed.
If you cringe at the thought of wasting paper and making a mess in public, you’ll have to look away at this one. After Tiger victories, toilet paper will adorn the landmark Toomer’s Corner, the famed intersection of College Street and Magnolia Avenue, which also happens to be the anchoring corner of Auburn’s campus. Paper was used until 1972 when toilet paper was introduced, I’m guessing because it would cover more ground and have more staying power then sheets of paper.
This one is both creepy and cool. While we’ve all taken mementos form special trips and places we want to remember, Florida State fans have been stealing sod from opponents’ fields and burying it since 1962, when a FSU professor challenged the team to bring back some grass from their match with Georgia. A tradition was born and a cemetery now has it’s place on campus.
A little over 40 years ago, Georgia Tech tried to put an end to their annual rivalry with Clemson, which really upset Tiger fans. To show their displeasure, Clemson fans took out $2 bills from all the local banks and stamped them with orange Tiger paws to show the economic impact of their fan base. To this day, Clemson fans still bring this currency to away games to leave their mark on opposing teams’ towns.
24 days until kick off...