It's taken me a week, but I'm finally writing the (long awaited? SMH.) summary of the UofL/OSU game. My friend and I left Portland around 8AM. It was bright, sunny, and rather warm. After about 20 minutes down I-5 it got foggy. Then it became drizzly and thereafter the full-on rain started. Life in the Pacific Northwest should not come without the notion that rain can happen anytime. No worries. It's part of life here.
We made it to Corvallis in good time. By 10AM we had found a free parking spot on a side street of the north side of campus. We watched kids get their beer bongs and fifths of alcohol ready. It was still raining and the tailgaters were just getting into high gear. So we decided to sit and people watch while drinking High Life and listening to De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising. It was a good start to a near perfect day.
Headed down and did some tailgating with some Beaver friends. The tailgating experience in Corvallis was awesome. The stadium is right right in campus so every corner you turn there's another group of fans doing their thing around some nook of a university building. OSU fans were very cordial and welcoming (we were invited to drink some box wine at halftime-thank you Beaver fans for allowing me to keep my buzz going). Can't say enough good things about them all. Oh and they were way more open about the drinking than their frenemies down the road in Eugene. The alcohol was in full effect and the the local and state police didn't seem to mind.
Saw our boys walking into the stadium for warm ups on the way down through campus. That was a nice surprise. We decided to see what the official UofL tailgate was all about (even though I didn't pay the $40 entrance fee). Turns out they weren't checking to see who walked in by the time we got there so that $40 was apparently waived. Lots of older alum were there with a few young fans mixed in. Crazy fans were there like the retired couple who live in Michigan yet fly back to Louisville for every home basketball and football game along with numerous away games. Free beer! At least for us. A few Mirror Pond Pale Ales were nice. Dr. Ramsey was there. A few minutes before kickoff they made some announcements and asked an elderly alum/former UofL cheerleader (who apparently is well known) to lead the group in a classic C-A-R-D-S chant. It was a good note to head into Reser Stadium on.
Reser is cool. It's small and intimate and has that English football (soccer) stadium feel to it. Each stadium stand looked completely different as if all were added at different times in history. I love that kind of stuff. Our cheering sections were exuberant to say the least. Met up with my other UofL pals (one was actually a UK grad, but he was respectful and cheered for the Cards). The Cardinal fans filled up two lower sections of the southwest end zone with a few rogue fans scattered throughout the stadium. I was pleasantly surprised by the showing. Everyone stood up the entire game it seemed-even the older fans. Lots of crazy cheers occurred at random as we didn't have a collective plan. I was able to get us going with 'U of L U U of L' at one point which seemed to amuse some people. At another point I yelled 'Demarcus Smith' for unknown reasons (future yearning+alcohol+temporary QB frustration I suppose). Speaking of Froman he did a stellar job-at least comparatively speaking. Not sure I want my QB scrambling for 2 (nearly 3) TDs on a regular basis, but I'll take it in the short term. Froman had a quite the cheering section that took up the first two rows of our section. Guess this is as close as we will ever get to California during his career.
No need to comment too much on the game. Everything's been said. What was nice is how we were able to yuck it up with the OSU students and fans in a good-natured way. A few came to us after the game and we wished each other well in the future (sorry about that Boise State game Beavs). What was very cool was how the UofL players acknowledge our little sections of the stadium. Froman did for sure. The special teams would come out and turn around to us and would jump around and wave their hands vigorously. It was a good feeling and I can't help but think we had a little something to do with their play on the field.
The final score was disappointing (especially since we had chances) as any loss is, but can't fault the passion, heart and (generally) the execution on the field. Things are looking up for the Cardinal faithful.
I tried and failed to get a couple of good shots of our sections of fans. However, I scanned the UofL Sports website and their photographer got a decent shot of one section. Thanks to that photographer, but no thanks on paying $15 for the photo (hence the watermark). I've always found there's something cool about being a vocal minority-especially at sporting events. This experience might I have my fave for that scenario.
We had some good beer and food after the game in downtown Corvallis later that evening before heading back to Portland late that night. We walked back through campus to our car late at night which was somewhat meditative.
I have one last gem. On the way out of the stadium (they let everyone just run around on the field afterwards-it was very chill there) we just happened to walk by Gill Coliseum where the team was getting ready to load onto buses. Saw a few players come out and then...
That's gotta be a good sign. Right? Yes, things indeed are looking up in for Card faithful.
Go Cards. Beat Red Wolves.