Looking Back At The Clash Of The Titans
Disclaimer: Yes, I realize the Alabama game was five days ago but I needed time to sit in a dark room and get over the defeat.
Here was my take on the day:
After the first quarter on Saturday, the dream was alive. Texas A&M were beating the National Champions and the #1 ranked team in college football.
Unfortunately for the Aggies, a nightmare would soon set in. Their defense just couldn’t contain the Crimson Tide. It ended Alabama 49-42 Texas A&M.
On the morning of the game, there was a special ambience surrounding College Station.
Compared to the Rice and Sam Houston State games, you could tell this one really mattered.
I decided to head down to Kyle Field early to soak up the atmosphere and experience ESPN’s College GameDay. It was hot. Really hot.
Once I arrived at the stadium, I had guessed that GameDay would be easy to find. It wasn’t.
Eventually though, I plucked up the courage to ask an already drunk group of tailgaters, who pointed me in the right direction. Well when I say that, I mean a dude drunkenly whilst having a piss threw his arms at a building and gestured that it would be somewhere in that general area. Luckily, it was. Cheers pissed man.
After being in the extreme heat for ten minutes and realizing that GameDay isn’t actually that fun if you’re there standing about 100 meters away from the action, I moved on.
By this time, it was getting closer and closer to kick off.
As explained here, I had got lucky in my search for a ticket to the game.
Naturally, I usually fear the worst. So you can imagine me starting to panic when I noticed that everyone else’s ticket looked different to mine. After shelling out a fair bit of cash for it, the thought that I’d been scammed started to set in. By this point, I just wanted the gates to open so I could find out. The wait was gruelling.
Finally, the gates were slung open.
As I got in line, I positioned myself into the ironically named ‘Express Lane’. I had visions of us all powering through in no time. Instead, I was subjected to what I can only describe as an ordeal. A couple had lost one of their tickets and refused to go to the back of the queue until the lady eventually found it at the bottom of her inappropriately large handbag.
People had been shouting at them to hurry up. Had I? Of course not. English people are built to queue without showing any signs of discontent. On average, I think Brits probably spend about 10 years of their lifespan in a queue. It’s just something we do. And we do it well.
Finally, after showing off my queueing expertise, I handed my ticket over. The green light came up on the scanner. Elation. Ecstasy. Jubilation etc etc
I was in. I was delighted and I hadn’t even got to witness Mike Evans’ ridiculous 95-yard touchdown yet. The only drawback though, was as great as it was to be inside Kyle Field, there was still nearly two hours until the game actually kicked off. As I mopped my brow with my free 12th man towel, I considered how I’d go about chewing up the time.
Surviving. That was how I was going to spend the next couple of hours.
I located my seat in section 149 and baked in the sun for about 12 seconds until I decided that this wouldn’t work until kick off as a suitable pastime.
Shade greeted me at the back of the stand, it was beautiful.
As the minutes went by, the section started to fill up. I soon realized why my tickets had looked different to everyone elses. The tickets I had were for the ‘away section’. I’d be surrounded by the enemy. At first, I thought this could be fun and add a ‘different element’ to my college football experience. And I’ll tell you what, for the first two A&M offensive drives, I was bloody loving it.
The Bama fans around me were as quiet as a mouse. Meanwhile, I was (respectfully) losing my Tom Tit (if you can’t work out what that means, look it up on an online London cockney rhyming slang dictionary).
Unfortunately, as the saying goes, all good things come to an end. Alabama started to get their act together and were marching down the field on repeat.
Now, I’m not one to get annoyed and frustrated if the other team genuinely plays well and has the talent to beat your team (OK, not entirely true, well in fact, not true whatsoever) but my situation was different, very different.
For I was sat literally right behind the Alabama band.
I was plonked a couple of rows behind the geezers that hold the effing massive metal things that they have to hold around their necks. Forgive my lack of instrumental knowledge, I am the least musical person ever.
Anyway, in the first quarter, I hadn’t noticed them much. I was too busy drooling over the persona of Johnny Manziel.
Until Alabama started to rack up first down after first down.
They had this shockingly annoying tune that they played after every ten-yard gain. It’s alright for people at the other end of Kyle Field because I bet they can barely hear it.
For me though? It was like getting slapped in the chops every couple of minutes. The noise would reverberate in my head and would then be topped off by a Bama fan screeching ‘Roll Tide!’ directly into my eardrums. I wanted to cry.
I didn’t though. I had my maroon t shirt on so I wasn’t about to give these Bama folk what they wanted. I’d continue to shout as loud as my lungs could allow whilst AJ McCarron prepared to take another snap.
On the whole, the Alabama fans were OK. However, one, well two, soured the game experience.
The first was stood right in front of me. He was so drunk that he was basically paralytic. His friend had to hold him up during the whole of the first half. Then as he started to sober up, he had the balls to give it the big one as they were winning. Mate, sit down, shut up.
The other one was funnier though. He was mental. He was stood right behind me. In this sea of Bama red, I was lucky enough to have a couple of Aggies in my vicinity. Anyway, right after the incident where a Bama player was ejected (then got reviewed, and was let back on), a mass argument broke out between the mentalist and one of our beloved Aggies.
The argument was about the particular rule. The Aggie was arguing that the penalty should have stood and the Bama matey was saying that a flag should never have been thrown in the first place. It started off as a discussion but then out of left field, got really heated.
Suddenly, $100 was being waved into the face of the Aggie. This Bama fella was so convinced that he was betting that he was right. He demanded that someone get the rule up on their phone.
Thanks to the shockingly bad phone reception at Kyle Field, we never did find out.
Anyway, the game finally came to a close and as much as I was distraught that A&M lost. I was proud. And that’s what hit me the hardest.
Often, sport is about winning and losing. But on that day, it wasn’t. I left Kyle Field feeling really upbeat and delighted that I’d just witnessed a football game between two teams that can genuinely say that they are two of the best in the country. And it lived up to the hype.
Did I expect to feel like that? Of course not. I’d been in College Station for just three weeks. Yet my bond with that team was stronger than I ever thought it would be.
It is a cliché that is often used. Once you go to Kyle Field, you never look back. You get the bug.
Boy, do I have the bug.
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