Sunday, November 3, 2013

Another world

Saturday I had sort of a cross-cultural experience - a visit to Mizzouland. I learned that there is a sub-culture that lives in this world much of the time. It was the Missouri-Tennessee football game. People start arriving in RVs a day or two before, park in a huge lot and start tailgate parties that run right up to game time and even after - yes, some people actually are parked in the lot near the stadium, but instead of going into the game, they have a TV set up in their patio tent and watch the game on TV while they nosh. Cheaper, I guess, and you see plays up close. Of course you could do that at home, but it wouldn't be as much fun. There are so many people that the cars fill the lots available and park on the shoulders of the highways leading from the stadium for a mile or two in every direction. It's amazing.

Rob had a parking pass so we got pretty close to the stadium, walked past numerous tailgate parties, past the Mizzou 350-member marching band that was lining up to parade into the stadium. We walked past what is reputed to be the largest college marching band drum in the world, past the "Golden girls" - the cheer leaders in gold lame (sorry, can't find the accent aigu), and joined the throng filing into the stadium. It was a beautiful late fall afternoon, but a bit chilly. Starting time was 6pm, so it would get chillier by the time the game was well underway.  The reason for the 6pm start time was for the game to be in prime time on TV,  so they lost the chance for a beautiful fall afternoon football game for the sake of $$.

The stadium holds something like 60,000 people - small, I guess, by SEC standards (Missouri is now in the Southeast Conference with the likes of Texas A&M and Alabama). Missouri actually has plans to enlarge the stadium by making it higher - to the tune of $200,000,000 or so! We were a bit on he early side, so a lot of seats were empty, but they all filled by game time. There was a pre-game show on the field featuring the band, which formed a huge capital "M" and then did their famous "flip" in which they quickly turn "MIZZOU" into "TIGERS." Meanwhile the Golden Girls are doing their thing. There is, of course, a huge screen on which all the Mizzou players are introduced one-by-one, and the announcer whips up the crowd by shouting "M-I-Z" to which the crowd responds "Z-O-U!"
At each touchdown, fireworks are set off. It's another world, for sure.

Mizzou got off to a shaky start but pretty quickly found themselves, and by half-time the score was Mizzou 24, Tennessee 3. They went on to win 31-3, but we decided to leave near the end of half-time to (1) avoid  getting too chilled, (2) avoid the end-of-game crunch in the parking lot, (3) watch the game at home on TV and (4) have snacks prepared by Rob. We got the best part of the game live, but got comfortable - the best of both worlds. On the way out of the parking lot we saw the TV screens of the dedicated tail-gaiters.

Here are some photos:



Golden Girls

Big Drum

Crowd filing in

"T-I-G-E-R-S" formation


A sea of black and gold

Congratulations! (AP)

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