Last year, my husband and I went to an away game for our favorite college team, the Arizona State Sun Devils. They were playing in Colorado, which is a much easier trip to make than Tempe! Now, I have a confession to make: As big of a sports fan as I am, I’ve only been to a handful of games. I’ve seen professional baseball games in 2 stadiums, an Arena Football game and a WNBA game. I’ve never been to an NFL, NHL or NBA game. I’ve been to college games obviously, but nothing on the Div. I level. So since our beloved Sun Devils were playing the Buffalos, we decided to sneak away for the game. Let me tell you….what an experience!!
I was warned before I left, it’s different with an away game. The tailgating isn’t for you. People stare at you funny if you’re wearing the “other team’s” colors and some of them will even say not so nice things to you. Be that as it may, I was all in! We parked a thousand miles from the stadium (because that’s just what you do) and hiked to the game. I must admit, I was a little disappointed in CU’s tailgating. There just wasn’t much happening. Yeah, it was a Thursday or something like that but still. It’s game day, people! Do it up!! We wandered around campus checking out the inflatable bounce houses and booths that were set up. We got lost finding our tickets because a kid in a CU shirt gave us bad directions. I actually laughed at that. I’d have done the same thing! By the time we found them, we had about 2 hours before kickoff so we decided to check out the bar scene. We hiked across campus for what felt like hours until we found this fun little street lined with dive bars, bar-b-que grills and wall to wall people. Coincidentally, the first bar I spotted was brimming with maroon and gold. We made our way into the craziness and ordered a couple of beers. The bar was maybe the size of a McDonald’s bathroom and it was HOT inside. There were people everywhere so we slid back outside and struck up a conversation with some other random Devils fans.
We boo’d when Ralphie the Buffalo went by, but truth be told, it was pretty cool. The bar we were in was right on a corner and of course, every other bar was heavy on black and gold. Ralphie is towed by a big pickup and hangs out in a cattle trailer. On the trailer are several CU students who are his handlers. They’re all dressed for the occasion and as soon as that trailer stopped, the crowds around us roared. The handlers led them in some kind of chant and then the school song. Of course, I wasn’t paying much attention because by then the bar behind us was empty and we were chanting our own songs in hopes of drowning them out. We were not many, but we were mighty! Eventually, we had to bid our new friends goodbye and make the trek back to the stadium. It’s funny, the walk back was much faster than the walk to the bar.
The game itself was fabulous. CU’s marching band is phenomenal, the student sections were both electric and the energy was palpable. ASU came out with a huge victory so it was an even better ending. I even ended up on ESPN!! Or the top of my head did anyway. The bands, the cheerleaders, the traditions, the intensity….it was an amazing experience! I can’t wait to get to a home game so I can experience both sides of the game!
So dear fans, if you find yourself rooting for the away guys, find a fun bar with friendly faces, embrace the traditions, even if they’re not your own, and have a blast with it! If it’s a rivalry game, make the very most of it. Rivalries are probably THE most amazing college tradition. One I’ll write about next week! Until then, have a great football weekend, be blessed, be safe and have FUN!!