I really don’t think there’s anything quite like the atmosphere of college football. It may be the one sport where the atmosphere is the most identifiable aspect of the sport. Think about what it’s like to wake up on a college football Saturday, from the student perspective.
You roll out of your dorm bed, that gleam of sunlight is bothering you a little too much. The TV was on all night and what is the very first sound you hear? None other than Lee Corso booming a, “Not so fast my friend!” The day has started.
All of your friends have been up, anticipating the game. You throw on every piece of school colors you have, and head directly for the stadium area. Time to tailgate.
The first scent that envelops your nostrils is the fiery aroma of hamburgers and bratwursts. Beer cans are popping off, bean bags are being thrown in cornhole, and kids are sprinting after hail mary’s in the parking lot. It’s almost something like a carnival completely dedicated to football.
While your taste buds are watering, your ears are being treated to a symphony of excitement. The band is fully tuned, with the fight song blasting constantly. Random people are just blaring classic rock out of the trunk of their SUV’s, with a grill and folding chairs set up right in front of it. The cheerleaders will be strolling around too, screaming as loud as they can.
But I don’t think anything, even the party-like atmosphere of a tailgate, compares to a completely packed stadium. There is an electricity and feeling of unity that simply cannot be put into words. Think about the uniqueness of it.
When do 70,000-100,000 people gather in one place for one common reason? When is 90 percent of a crowd like that all hoping for the same thing? Every interception, fumble, touchdown, and sack sends a momentum swing of emotions through the guts of entire legions of fans. They feel those simultaneously, like all of their emotions are connected in a linear network of some sort.
That’s what football, and honestly sports, does for us. They give meaning to a day for an entire season. Sure, there’s a great deal of people who identify Saturday as a clubbing night or a night to go to your favorite restaurant. Some might even go Travolta with some Saturday Night Fever.
But when the leaves change, the whistle blows, and that ball is kicked off, Saturdays take on a whole new meaning in this football crazed nation. The sweetness of Saturdays are back.
And I could not be more excited.