It is finally time for LSU football, something that this city—including myself—waits for all year. Every fall, we plan our tailgates, buy our tickets, and hope for the best. Growing up in Baton Rouge, means you live and breathe college football, at least it did for me. My dad has always been a huge fan. I have plenty of fond memories of wearing my favorite Tiger gear, tailgating and watching games with him. This is also where I learned to add a majority of foul words to my vocabulary.
With so much up in the air and unknown about the upcoming season, I feel like this season could be a turning point for LSU football. Whether that turning point is for the better or for the worse, well that is yet to be determined. But I am not a fair weather fan. Good or bad, I’m a believer through and through. Even when living across the country, I somehow managed to seek out the other LSU diehards in Southern California and in New York City.
That first home game is a right of passage for every student or fan. We tailgate in the heat, because it’s still SO HOT here. We cook, we drink, we play games and taunt the other team’s fans when they happen to pass by our set up. “Tiger bait! Tiger bait!” But hey, we’re hospitable too. We may shout crude things about your team and your mom, but we’ll still offer you a beer and a plate of jambalaya.
When it’s almost game time, we pack up everything and head toward the stadium to hang out with about 100,000 of our best friends. But first, it’s time to welcome the Golden Band from Tigerland! Crowded around the street, excitement builds as the first of the band rolls over victory hill. Perfect purple and gold uniforms march in line as we wait for them to reach the assigned spot. Those of us who’ve been around awhile, make sure to position ourselves right next to where the horn section will be.
When the formation stops, there is a stillness in the air, a quiet that falls over the crowd. Finally, the band raises their instruments, turns to one side and blasts those first four notes that send us into a frenzy. They turn to the opposite side and play them again, making chills rush down our spines and smiles spread across our faces. Fans get pumped, students shout with pride, and kids look like they’ve just seen Santa. It’s a moment that stays with you for a lifetime, something that, no matter how far you are from home, can bring you back with just a memory.
That’s kind of how Baton Rouge football works here. An entire city comes together as a family, supporting one another, inducting new members all the time. Sure, sometimes we put too much pressure on these kids playing a game of ball, but our hearts are in the right place. So, DIG in, LSU fans. Football season is here and it’s bound to be an exciting one. GEAUX TIGERS! I’ll see you in Death Valley.