I have never been inside a stadium that holds over 100,000 people. That’s very high grandstands, all of the way around, and seats pretty close together so that every time you get up, you sort of wedge yourself back into your seat. It means when people need to get up and leave, they have to balance on your shoulders as they pass by you because it’s pretty darn narrow.
Tuscaloosa’s Bryant-Denny Stadium was rocking yesterday, big time. Roll Tide!!
To get to our seats in the QQ section just below the highest of them all we followed a circular concrete ramp, circling, up, and up, and up, so many times I think it must have taken us 10 minutes to reach our stop. Boy, it’s high up!
In the south, women love football as much as men. This takes getting used to, because honestly, finding a New England girl who actually wants to watch even a few minutes of football is rare. Sometimes it seems like baseball or at least, the Red Sox, are ok to women, but football. Oh no, get me outta here, they’ll often say.
But in Alabama, some of the most rabid fans are indeed, women. I sat next to a vociferous Crimson Tide fan at the game who yelled each time she was happy with her team…a high-pitched, ear-piercing scream that made me eventually turn away before a big play, knowing the scream would soon follow.
Each time Alabama gets a first down, it’s a scintillating chorus of “ROLL TIDE!!!” The sea of pom-poms moving to the beat of Skynrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama” made everyone feel great. And the back and forth “ALA!” from one side, then “BAMA!!” from the other.
At Alabama, like any big-time sports university, they sell all manner of products, wearable’s and chotzke that says Roll Tide, or has that little script A that’s the Crimson Tide’s logo. I was passed a sheet of tiny ‘A’s’ and little crimson-colored Alabama Crimson Tides that stick on your fingernails. They’re also commonly used to decorate your cheeks, or your temples, anywhere they can stick that people can see them.
The game was a heartbreaker…a one-point loss after home team Crimson Tide was up by 24-0! I never thought I’d be cold down here in the south and as we shivered we were amazed to see a fan walking down the ramp in a skimpy t-shirt, sandals, and shorts. His shirt might have explained; it read “Drinks Well with Others.”
The sea of red outside the stadium as we entered all surged in together, as if the stadium, named for the most famous coach at Alabama, (oh, and a college president, showing that not only coaches have stadiums named after them) was sucking us all inside it.
Just watching the band pass took many minutes, it’s a huge assortment of tubas, trumpets and rolling xylophones and it was funny to hear their halftime selection of songs from the 1960s, complete with hippy chicks holding ‘protest’ signs and wearing headbands and flowers.
A Big Time college sports experience, evidenced by the segment on the jumbotron that showed last week’s progress for the eight former Crimson Tide players who now play in the NFL.