I’ve been extremely fortunate to experience some of the best the sporting world has to offer … I went to Dallas Cowboys games during their dynasty in the 90s, I saw a Mavericks-Lakers game when it was Shaq and Kobe vs. Dirk and Nash, I’ve been to countless baseball games … most notably in Yankees Stadium and Wrigley Field, and I’ve seen golf’s best up close both on the men’s and women’s side.
And when it comes to college football, I feel like I’ve seen the best already — several LSU games in Baton Rouge … the biggest being LSU-Florida.
I wasn’t expecting my first-ever UNC Tar Heels football game to rival any of those — and it didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it was great and would have been better had it not been for the two-hour lightning storm and the drunk frat boys behind me. In Tuesday’s Herald, the tease to this blog read, “and why it may have been his last.”
I’m not saying this will be my last trip to Keenan Stadium, just the last time I sit near the student section.
My wife and I were generously given a pair of tickets to Saturday’s UNC opener against McNeese State, a team I’m very familiar with as they were my alma mater’s rival (Stephen F. Austin in Texas) and they’re located in Lake Charles, just an hour from Lafayette.
Keenan Stadium is beautiful on the inside … nice tree-lined end zone on one end, a sea of Carolina blue and white on the other. The 60,000-capacity stadium was sold out, and while the noise came nowhere near the Richter Scale-thumping feal of Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge, it was pretty loud. Felt like college football.
Our seats were near the student section, around the 10-yard-line on the south side. The seats were great … the company was not. A row of idiots sat behind us … I call them frat boys, and even though I was once in a fraternity, I was never this obnoxious. Apparently these guys weren’t supposed to be sitting behind us, so they doubled up … sometimes sitting in each other’s laps (which is cool, I’m told) and often bumping us from behind. A few of them had a mouth full of chaw, which reeked, and another of them kept flatulating to the point one of the friends asked during a break, “OK, who’s farting?”
Yes, who’s farting indeed.
The idiot-football-fan screaming and cussing aside, what perturbed me a little was being called a wine and cheese fan because we got up to head to the aisles when the lightning started hitting in the second quarter. Yes … I’m a big snob because I don’t want to get struck by a bolt of energy while sitting on metal seats.
I only hope those guys were still in their seats when the sideways rain started coming down soon after.
Our experience at Keenan was cut short because of the rain … we had to walk way back to our cars, and with Jennifer still recovering from a nasty ankle and shin bruise, we didn’t have the energy to wait it out and make the walk back.
But that doesn’t mean we didn’t enjoy ourselves. We pulled for UNC, but I think Jennifer and I got some sick pleasure from watching McNeese State — which is a REALLY good Div. I-AA team whose only loss last year was to Appalachian — do well. UNC won by just a touchdown, and I hope their fans realize that’s not a small feat. They played a solid team.
If anything, I got to see what I believe to be a future NFL receiver — Brandon Tate — completely dominate every time he touched the ball. He will win a few games on his own down the line. Against McNeese, he racked up nearly 400 all-purpose yards … most of them in dazzling fashion.
We thank our ticket gifters for the experience, and we only hope tickets come available again during basketball season when a certain Blue Devil squad faces a certain Tar Heel team … we can dream.