let me preface this posting by saying that i am from a region of the country where football is life–college football especially. the social calendar is dictated by “your” team’s home and televised games. it is a place where early on, little ones learn to either shout “roll tide” or “war eagle” as one of the first phrases learned…no kidding. college football is a way of life in the south…at least in alabama.
i went running this morning at the rose bowl and could not help but think of game day…and i could not help but think how this game day (and the preparations that come with it) is completely different to the game day i am used to in alabama.
the erecting of the tent was my first clue that some future event was taking place at the rose bowl…
followed by a flashing caution sign that warned of heavy traffic on saturday due to the ucla game…
after which i noticed a few sawhorses set up to aid with traffic control. the rest of the ground was bare with no other activity to be noted.
“is this all the preparations that have been made thus far?” i asked myself as i circled the bowl. where are the rv’s that have been parked since wednesday evening, the tailgaters who are already doing just that, the vendors who set up to sell food and paraphernalia on what is known as the quad, the college students who have been paid by out-of-towners to mark off their tailgating spot, vehicles studded with orange and blue auburn logos and a tiger tail hanging out of the trunk
or bama magnets flanking the vehicle with a flag proudly flying out of the window?
i had the keen sensation, like dorothy in the wizard of oz when she realizes all that surrounds her is no longer familiar, that i was not in alabama anymore.
the rose bowl is simply a venue where the bruins host their home games…just like it is a venue for so many other activities–to the monthly swapmeets to the annual 4th of july festivities to the rosary bowl.
it is not a stadium that touts the names of legendary coaches that the current head coach only dreams of becoming.
it is not a stadium where football is the sole activity that occurs in this arena.
it is not a structure designed to serve only one function (that of housing football games); it is a multi-purpose facility.
the rose bowl is a good 1/2 hour from ucla’s campus so students must make a concerted effort to attend the games.
the game i attended last year was almost devoid of students…and subsequently devoid of spirit; it was downright boring!
in contrast is the auburn/florida game i went to just a few weeks later where everyone (save myself and my other so cal friend) was dressed in orange and blue
the excitement could be felt in the air as the whole world (it seemed) had arrived and was converging on the city of auburn, alabama.
so, with all this said, and even more preparations that have been made throughout the day, i am grateful for the small reminder of home, of tradition, of differences, and…
of game day.