We had another very Texas experience, UT football. I was lucky to get tickets from a friend so we decided we had to check it out.
Austin and I drove to campus around 1pm to pick up the tickets from my office mailbox since they were dropped off Friday night. First of all, traffic on 35 was insane. The game started at 6pm but apparently everyone wanted to get there to tailgate because we saw people everywhere, just everywhere, setting up to tailgate. They had full-sized grills and lots of people brought TVs and dishes. One person brought a giant tire swing that they hung from a tree. Anyway, it was nuts so we parked illegally for me to run into my office and grab the tickets.
Well. The office building was locked and my key wasn't working. We desperately called anyone we thought would be home to look up the campus police number for us and finally got a hold of someone to help. Of course the campus police were very occupied and for some reason my name wasn't even showing up as an employee. Finally I got to talk to the dispatch supervisor who said I could get an officer escort in but only with my ID and only if my name was on something inside the building to confirm I was an employee. I sat in front of the building for 20 minutes while Austin stayed with the illegally parked car. Eventually another employee showed up and let me in! I had the tickets in two minutes, called the university police to cancel my call, and then we sat in traffic forever just trying to get home.
Once home, we hand washed our new t-shirts (no time for a full machine wash), threw them in the dryer, and went out for some food. We returned home, grabbed the shirts, our camera, tickets, and headed out to get on the shuttle.
We arrived at the enormous stadium and found our seats aka bleacher benches (like Lambeau) and watched the pre-game buzz. Right before the game, there were cheerleaders, pom pom teams, flag people, an alumni band, a student band, a mascot, a real longhorn cow "Bevo," just lots and lots of stuff. It was crazy. There were many songs and chants that we didn't know though I think it's sort of funny that the school song is to the tune of "I've Been Working on the Railroad." The team came out in a huge cloud of smoke to deafening cheers and the other team got booed (which I thought was in poor taste).
The below picture is not Austin booing but making the Longhorns sign with his hand. It is used all the time and when a player is injured, everyone holds up the sign silently.
We had really good seats and could see the action but you could also check it out on a huge Jumbotron. For a touchdown, Smokey the Cannon would go off and the crowd would go insane. All the fans stand on the bleachers and you only sit between quarters. The bleachers aren't entirely sturdy so it was sort of like surfing the whole time and several "festive" fans fell over a couple of times. Alcohol is prohibited in the stadium but a lot of people came in with full pockets. One guy had a wine skin under his shirt.
The game and spectacle was just amazing though as a cynic, I couldn't help but wonder about the cost and athletics versus academics. On the other hand, it was cool to see so much spirit. Austin and I came home and looked up the fight songs of our alma maters, something we had never known, and man were they lame!
All in all, it was a lot of fun and a Texas must-do, but I think we'll be content to watch it on TV next time.