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A Saturday in Bulldog country

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A Saturday in Bulldog country

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TOUCHDOWN BULLDOGS: The after-smoke of celebratory fireworks.

Every Saturday, Southeastern Conference college campuses are completely transformed, almost unrecognizable.  Football gives die-hard fans a chance to deck-out in team gear, families to enjoy each other under tailgate tents, and students to celebrate the school they love. On October 27, I had the privilege of going to the Mississippi State vs. Texas A&M game. Both of my parents attended and cheered at MSU; maroon and white runs in my blood.

Going into Starkville, home of the Bulldogs, there was one tradition that we couldn’t break– Oby’s. When in “Starkvegas,” since 1976, there has never been any other place my dad would rather go. Every visit, we get the exact same order; shrimp po’boy for me and a pepper cheese steak sandwich for my dad. The line was all the way outside, shorter than it would’ve been if it weren’t for the Dawg Walk taking place surrounding Davis Wade Stadium. We finished up at around 3:00 p.m. and headed straight to campus; I needed stickers for my cowbell and a tattoo for my face.  

The first trial of every football game is parking. Is it worth it to take the risk of getting towed and park on the side of the road? To pay the $20 and park on Greek Row? My dad held his complaints down and put his money up. Passing the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house and kids in #15 jerseys, we headed for The Junction. All tailgate groups had huge TVs, specifically watching Dan Mullen’s “lateral move.” In an enormous sea of maroon and white, my dad still managed to see, what felt like every single one of his college friends. We found my uncle, who oh-so casually gave us scoreboard club tickets! I’d never sat anywhere but the nosebleeds at the very top of the stadium, so I had no idea what to expect.  

Walking out of the elevator, my mind was blown. I was speechless… that’s a lie, I had lots of words. Mostly, “Oh my gosh, dad!” There were buffets upon buffets—all free—Mexican food, burgers and hot dogs, little snacks. Pictures of Dak Prescott were scattered all around the maroon and white walls. There were pristine white couches, bar-height tables, and TVs everywhere. It was lavish, and the members didn’t even know it. We headed outside the double doors into the stands, watching the players’ warm-ups and the Florida vs. Georgia game plastered on the jumbo-tron.  

The energy when the players make their entrance is insane. The Famous Maroon Band separates into two sections, making way for the jersey-clad guys. Fire and smoke shoots up as the team runs onto the field, cowbells ringing and fans screaming. Every touchdown, fireworks were shot from the jumbo-tron. Between the third and fourth quarter, Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” blared from the speakers—the cue for everyone in the stands to turn phone flashlights on, wave flags, or ring cowbells to the beat.  

Bulldogs won 28-13. We were ecstatic that we got to witness an upset, but also that we saw Nick Fitzgerald run for 76 yards to a touchdown live and in person. There’s almost no greater feeling than coming home a winner. With all the excitement of the night, I was exhausted. For the next two hours I fell asleep with a huge jacket as a blanket and static on the radio.

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A Saturday in Bulldog country