I sipped on my lukewarm hot chocolate still in amazement that in 1869, the very first collegiate American football game was played right here. Rutgers University. The prestigious and historic university. It was cold with a brisk and brutal numbness. My feet struggled with all their might to stay warm in the second half. And I LOOOOVEE the cold! Yes, I do. It’s the summer and heat that I cannot handle. (I’m from Texas where summers are brutally hot.)
I had the pleasure of being accompanied by my fiance’s cousin, Eligia, shown below freezing in the cold. Neither of us had any affinity for the two teams playing, but we had such a blast laughing and cracking jokes about the Indiana Hoosier dancers and the chants. The sights and sounds were fun.
From the fight song….
R-U, Rah, Rah,
R-U, Rah, Rah,
Up-Stream Red Team;
Red Team Up-Stream
To the people constantly shouting “RUTGERS” in the same manner of Corky’s love interest in Waiting For Guffman. Eligia and I both did triple takes….because it sounded more like “FUCKERS!”
To the crowd shouting…”R….U….R….U.” I wasn’t sure if that was a question, so I shouted back, “No, I’m not!”
To the odd dancing rhythms of the Indiana University dance squad. They literally did the robot to the turf and then patted each other’s asses.
So why on earth would this Texan ever want to go to a Rutgers football game? Well, I love my college football, and I can’t think of a better atmosphere to watch a game than in the cold. Freezing. Cold. I-Can’t-Feel-My-Butt cold. It’s also exciting seeing what other schools do and how they cheer. It’s the fabric of the culture, and I, for one, enjoy learning it. Plus, it is THE birthplace of college football, and RU is THE university of my new state of New Jersey, and for that matter, THE college of the NYC Metropolitan area. It’s still part of my journey of being on sabbatical and exploring my surroundings.
The verdict? The atmosphere wasn’t as electrifying as I have experienced at Longhorn games or collegiate football in the south. The fans and the band were very much lackluster, but it could have been that the Scarlet Knights were coming off a three-game losing streak in their first season in the Big 10. They had low expectations. I was, however, highly entertained by the Guido-esque mascot strutting his stuff like John Travolta, and the Scarlet Knight riding into the stadium on a white horse while wearing his scarlet armor.
It’s just a new perspective on life and living on the East Coast. When it was all said and done, it was a great experience. Rutgers won, and despite the slow start and low enthusiasm from the fans initially, the players and crowd did get pumped up as the team put on more points. I’d come back.
It had me a little nostalgic for that good ‘ol, Texas high school spirit!