I love many things about fall, but one of my favorites is to attend a UL football game.
My youngest daughter and I have agreed that basketball is a game, but football is an event.
It is fun to be in the crowd that is heading to the stadium. We can see the Twin Spires of Churchill Downs as the racetrack is just to the corner of Papa John’s Stadium.
As we walk through the tailgaters, delicious smells of grilling makes our mouths water.
We get our concessions before heading to our seats, as they are pretty high. There are soft pretzels (my favorite), burgers, hot dogs, barbecue, and of course, lots of Papa John’s pizza.
The stadium is a sea of red and black.
If we get to the stadium early enough, we can watch our mascot, the Cardinal Bird, parachute into the stadium.
The band plays My Old Kentucky Home and the Star Spangled Banner.
O, Fortuna, from the Carmina Burana cantata, builds the excitement, and the players run out to that song, shrouded in smoke that comes out of their tunnel. Fireworks are set off on the top of the locker room building.
The game opens with a trumpeter playing the call to the post, just as it is heard before the races at Churchill Downs. If you watch the Kentucky Derby, you know how it goes.
The game is started and so is the fun. In between plays, we can talk with the group of people with whom we have season tickets. There are also the boogie cam, the kiss cam, and the kids’ cam to watch on the two large screens at each end of the field. They throw out t-shirts and have the crowd vote for a song to play by clapping the loudest for one of three songs.
At half-time, we can watch the band. The Ladybirds dance team usually performs.
I watch the action beginning from the quarterback. I learned to do this when my son-in-law was the quarterback for Louisville for a year. The more I watch football, the more I understand. I also ask my husband lots of questions to help me learn the game.
We have a working railroad next to the stadium, so when a touchdown occurs, the sound of a train whistle is heard and firecrackers explode again from the roof of the locker room.
I love when a receiver catches the ball and runs all the way down the field for a touchdown. I think one of my favorites is when we intercept the ball, catching their defense off guard. Most times the intercepter can run the field for a touchdown. And another first down is always a good thing and keeps the drive going.
I used to think that football looked like a slow game with lots of predictability. I now know that each play has its own strategy, and that the game can turn on a dime.
Whether i go in extremely hot Labor Day kind of weather wearing my capris and sandals and putting my hair in a ponytail and pulling it through the back of a ball cap, or on a chilly day that requires a hat, heavy coat, gloves and a lap blanket, with large doses of hot chocolate, it is a great way to spend an afternoon or evening.