Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A few lessons:

It's Fall!  Time for cool(er) nights, jeans, boots, pumpkins, leaves, and FOOTBALL!  Gator football to be exact.

When I heard Texas A&M, who are located about an hour or so outside of Houston, were joining the SEC, my first thought was, "oh my gosh, I hope they play the Gators and I can go to the game!"  Well, the college football gods were smiling on me when they created the schedule, and the second game of our season was set to be against A&M in College Station.  I immediately called my friends with season tickets and asked them to purchase as many as they could.  Being the great friends they are, they came through with 6 for us.

We were joined by some of my friends from college, (one from Dallas, one from Houston, and two from Austin) and ventured into Aggie country.  As we stepped onto campus, we were wondering where everyone was.  It was eerily quiet.  You see, in Gainesville on game day, there is not a square foot of campus that is not occupied by a tent covering a spread of food, some sort of alcoholic beverage, and a group of friends wearing their Orange and Blue finest.  There was a steady stream of maroon t-shirts walking in the direction of the stadium, so we joined in.

As we neared the stadium, we finally saw a huge group of tailgaters...wearing ORANGE AND BLUE!  Of course we were thrilled to be amongst our own, but we were still wondering where everyone was.  Don't people tailgate in Texas?  I thought this was a huge football state.

Steve, being a native Texan, kept defending A&M, "they will all be closer to the stadium," "they must be on the other side of the stadium," "we always just had a party at the frat house before a game" (yes dear, they do that at UF too...but there are still many fans spread out around campus).  Once we made it to the SW corner of the stadium, a sea of maroon appeared and we had finally found the tailgating location. 

Lesson #1: A&M could learn a few things from the SEC about tailgating.

We were looking for a friend of ours at an Aggie tailgate and I have to admit, I was dreading it.  Being used to the fans of other SEC schools (and sadly, even my own precious UF), I was expecting to be met with fake smiles, trash talking, and awkwardness.  I could not have been more wrong!  Instead, we were greeted by this very friendly man named Dwayne who immediately filled our hands with beer and food and thanked us for making the trip to Aggie-land.

On our walk into the stadium, a couple of Aggies walked up behind us and as we braced ourselves for some expected harassment, they proceeded to ask us where we were from, if we were having a good time, and wished us luck with the game.

I hate to admit this, but this actually made me nervous.  Where were the harassing and rude comments about how bad they were going to beat us?  Where were the yells of pride for their school to let us know who's house we were in?

During the game, if a bad call was made, they didn't boo....they are too polite for that.  Instead they made a hissing sound to show their disappointment.  When they took the lead, there were no chants of "go home losers" or "not so tough in the SEC" being made.  When we won, there was no poor sportsmanship.  Instead, we were told, "Good game guys.  Thanks for coming and drive home safely."  I turned to my friend and said, "They must have rigged our cars for explosives.  Why else would they be so nice?" 

Well, we got in our car with no explosion and made it safely home.

Lesson #2:  The SEC can learn a lot from A&M about sportsmanship, class, and manners.

Thanks for having us Aggies and welcome to the SEC!