Saturday, August 31, 2013

A Football Story

[Boston College vs. Villanova, today. Notice the stands. This would never happen in the south.]

Today, I watched Boston College play Villanova. I made some comments on Facebook, during the game, that were less than complimentary towards BC. This is because I know football. I am a big Boston College fan, but I am also a realist. They beat Villanova, but they wouldn't have beat most teams from their own level (Villanova is FCS, BC is FBS. If that distinction means nothing to you, just take my word for it that BC would have had their asses handed to them if they were playing, say, Clemson or Florida State.)
After the game, my very good friend, Jackie - Teacher's Pet, on Blogger - sent me the following comparison between football in the north and football in the south. My commentary, and a story to illustrate said commentary, follows her e-mail.
-----Original Message-----
From: Jackie
To: suldog <>
Sent: Sat, Aug 31, 2013 5:37 pm
Subject: from Jackie (North and South College Game comparison(s) )

We had our first high school regular season game last night here in South Georgia. College games starting today have FB alive and well with football stuff.

I saw this on FB today, and thought it was cute (and soooo true.)

Wanted to share it with you, Jim.

When it comes to College Football, there are many cultural differences between The North and The South. Here are a few:

Stadium Size:
NORTH: College football stadiums hold 20,000 people.
SOUTH: High school football stadiums hold 20,000 people.

Campus Decor:
NORTH: Statues of founding fathers.
SOUTH: Statues of Heisman trophy winners.

Homecoming Queen:
NORTH: Also a physics major.
SOUTH: Also Miss America..

NORTH: If you are slightly coordinated, you make the varsity squad.
SOUTH: You begin cheer camp at age two, complete with ballet, dance, & gymnastic training.

Getting Tickets:
NORTH: 5 days before the game you walk into the ticket office on campus and purchase tickets.
SOUTH: 5 months before the game you walk into the ticket office on campus & put name on the waiting list.

Women’s Accessories:
NORTH: ChapStick in back pocket and a $20 bill in the front pocket.
SOUTH: Louis Vuitton duffel with two lipsticks, waterproof mascara. Money is not necessary — That’s what dates are for.

Friday Classes After a Thursday Night Game:
NORTH: Students and teachers not sure they’re going to the game, because they have classes on Friday.
SOUTH: Teachers cancel Friday classes because they don’t want to see the few students that might actually make it to class and throw up on their floor.

NORTH: An hour before game time, the University opens the campus for game parking.
SOUTH: RVs sporting their school flags begin arriving on Wednesday for The weekend festivities. The really faithful arrive on Tuesday.

Game Day:
NORTH: A few students party in the dorm and watch ESPN on TV.
SOUTH: Every student wakes up and rushes over to where ESPN is broadcasting “Game Day Live” to get on camera and wave to the folks up north.

NORTH: Raw meat on a grill, listening to local radio station with truck tailgate down.
SOUTH: 30-foot custom pig-shaped smoker fires up at dawn. Cooking accompanied by live performance by “Dave Matthews’ Band”.

Getting to the Stadium:
NORTH: You ask “Where’s the stadium?” When you find it, you walk right in.
SOUTH: When you’re near it, you’ll hear it. On game day it becomes the state’s third largest city.

NORTH: Drinks served in a paper cup, filled to the top with soda.
SOUTH: Drinks served in a plastic cup with the home team’s mascot on it.

When National Anthem is Played:
NORTH: Stands are still less than half full.
SOUTH: 100,000 fans, all standing, sing along in perfect four-part harmony.

Smell in the Air After the First Score:
NORTH: Nothing changes.
SOUTH: Fireworks.

Commentary (Male):
NORTH: “Nice play.”
SOUTH: “*#@&@, you slow *&%$@#! - tackle him and break his legs.”

Commentary (Female):
NORTH: “My, this certainly is a violent sport.”
SOUTH: “*#@&@, you slow *&%$@#! - tackle him and break his legs.”

NORTH: Neutral and paid.
SOUTH: Announcer harmonizes with the crowd in the fight song, with a tear in his eye because he is so proud of his team.

After the Game:
NORTH: The stadium is emptying out.
SOUTH: Another rack of ribs goes on the smoker. Planning begins for next week’s game.


My reply to her...
It is all so TRUE.

I've been a BC fan for years and years. They haven't been very good some of those years. When Flutie was here, sure, that was a big cultural thing, but beyond that...

So, back in 2007, it's Matt Ryan's senior year and BC is undefeated and ranked #2 in the nation. Florida State is coming in, BC has a chance to go to #1 if (as I remember) Ohio State loses and BC defeats FSU.

My good friend, Fast Freddie Goodman, somehow lands tickets to this game through his employer. They sponsor BC football on TV/radio and they get a certain number of tickets to each home game. He has five tickets. He invites me and also offers a seat to me to offer to anyone else who wants to come to the game. I invite my cousin, David; a big sports guy like me.

(MY WIFE does not do football, in case you're wondering. When she read the thing you sent, she laughed. She also said, "That's why I'm glad I live in the north.")

So, we meet Fred at his house, along with the other two people - a married couple - who will be going to the game. It is a hideous night for a sporting event. Rain is coming down like a cow pissing on a flat rock. David and I don't give a damn. He brought a poncho. I just plain don't care if I get wet. The other folks were not as happy about it, and I think they might have not even gone if it wasn't a big thing sponsored by FFG's company.

We get to the stadium a couple of hours before kickoff and head to the hosiptality area, where David and I round up about 12 complimentary beers each to go along with our free chili and ribs. We plop ourselves down and start the serious lubrication of our football souls.

By game time, we're entirely polluted. Rain? What? It's raining? WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! The others begin walking a few paces behind us.

We get to our seats - which are truly GREAT seats, by the way; Fred's company is righteous! - and the stadium is pretty dead. Half the people there have no idea what to do at a football game, especially at a football game as important to the home team as this one is. I mean, BC hasn't had a chance for NUMBER ONE IN THE NATION since the 1980's, with Flutie, and maybe not even then, really. It might have been the 1940's with Charlie O'Rourke leading the team into the Sugar Bowl against Tennessee. This is not right, so David and I decide to lively things up. We take it upon ourselves to teach some of these folks what to do. We lead by example.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO", we say every time the opposition quarterback tries to bark out signals.

Fred and the married couple look at us as though we have lost our minds. No, David and I have entered our element. It is war, we are Sullivans, and we have fortified ourselves with hops and meat. You, heathens, are the weird ones. Either join in or be considered the enemy!

We got a fair amount of the crowd to join us by the second half. Not Fred, though. He left the game at halftime, going inside to the school's basketball/hockey facility and grabbing a nap. The married couple sticks it out with us, but I think it may have been because they were afraid to leave.

In the end, despite a nice attempt of a comeback by Ryan, Boston College lost to FSU. We had to do the walk of shame past the Florida State fans sitting in the next section from ours. However, we know damn well, David and me, that they may be celebrating their well-earned victory by riding the BC fans, but when they see us walking by, the look in their eyes says, "You two are different. You KNOW."


I have tickets to the BC - Wake Forest game this coming Friday. I also have a softball playoff game that night, so I am conflicted. I hope it rains. The softball game will be cancelled, but the football game will go on. I do not mind the rain.
Soon, with more better stuff.



Jackie said...

You are a true football fan, Jim.
Sports fan, all around, I'd say.
Are you sure you aren't from the South!
Good luck with the softball playoff game. I do hope you all win. (I usually shorten "you all" to "y'all"...) but enough 'South' this evening. Sending you and your sweet wife hugs.

Craig said...

Hmmmph! North-EAST, maybe, but here in the Upper Midwest, we take our football seriously, complete with the six-figure stadiums (stadia?) (or is it just too 'northern' to even ask?). And you know, my Spartans DID beat the 'Dawgs in a bowl game just a year or two ago. . . Just sayin'. . .

Jeni said...

"Fortified with hops and meat" -loved that comment! I also very much enjoyed to comparisons of North/south and football. But, considering what has been my experience in college football games, all being Penn State, of course, I'm thinking maybe Pennsylvania has become part of the south now! We who are Nittany Lions do know how to party-hearty at the Penn State football games, that's for sure!

Lowandslow said...

Excellent post! Jackie nailed the north v south football mismatch, and you, Sir, are a TRUE fan that could fit in here (TX) anytime.


Yogi♪♪♪ said...

I really don't know about North football or even really South either but here in Oklahoma they take football seriously. OU Sooner fans are the most spoiled I have ever been around. One bad game and they turn on the coach and players. I worked with a guy a few years ago whose brother was an All American offensive lineman for the Sooners. They played Penn State up in Pennsylvania and beat them and the Sooners were flabbergasted because the Penn State fans gave their team a standing ovation after the game. Sooner players don't get anything from their fans after a loss. If that is North football I am all for it.
Personally I went to the University of New Mexico. Football was not a big deal there. I'm a pro football fan. Dallas Cowboys, I am almost ashamed to admit.

Michelle H. said...

Sorry, I have to agree with Jeni. Maybe Pennsylvania was misplaced on the map because our college football fans go all out for their players, even if the team loses. I'm NOT a football fan in anyway although I can sit through an entire game. And I can tell you the college fans are crazy around here.

Buck said...

I think South Bend gets a pass on that North/South thing... coz it's SOUTH Bend. That and Jesus loves us.

messymimi said...

That describes many of my autumn Saturday nights down here in south Louisiana. We may be weird, but we love it. Oh, and university officials stopped the early RV parking, they aren't allowed in their spots before 4pm Friday afternoon for a Saturday game.

Juli said...

My friend's son plays for BC (he's a senior) and she's at every game. She uses up a lot of her vacation time to be there. She may be the only one in the stands, but she's there. :)

Chris said...

I'm not a huge college football fan, although with my daughter starting her freshman year at Auburn, that may soon change. I've been to a few UCLA games, and it's pretty festive, but not the mania you hear about going on in Texas, Florida, etc. That being said, I wonder what the folks in Ann Arbor would have to say about your friend's critique of college football in the north.

(not necessarily your) Uncle Skip, said...

...or Eugene?
...even Berkeley, or (perish the thought) Stanford?

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