It’s Game Day in Tuscaloosa

September 11, 2010 at 1:42 pm 4 comments

I got down to Tuscaloosa at about 10 this morning, and town and campus were already rocking. Finding my way (slowly) to the media parking, I got out, immediately lost half my body weight in sweat, and waded into the heart of on-campus tailgating.

As mentioned, the scene here is very different than what folks are used to on game day in Happy Valley. With so many tents lined up side by side, almost all of them covering folding tables and chairs, it almost feels like you’re on a giant covered patio — a hot, steamy, crimson patio. As I walked through The Quad in my sweat-soaked blue t-shirt, a Bama fan leaned out from under his tent and asked, “Hey brother, how you like our cool fall weather?” Clearly, the locals like it, both because they’re used to it, and because they know we — and our team — mostly aren’t.

It’s also fun seeing the undergrads walking around in their signature game-day gear: The young men in khakis and blue blazers, floppy hair cuts bobbing over their foreheads, and the girls in cocktail dresses. They’re very much dressed for their big Saturday night out. How the guys deal with those outfits when it’s only noon and a sweltering 90-plus, I have no idea.

Most of the Penn Staters — myself included, at the moment — stick out in our cargo short and blue or white t-shirt combos. I found a few of them on The Quad, surrounded by crimson as far the eye could see, and dropped in to say hello. There I met Mat Stoudnour ’01, who works in development at Penn State Altoona.

There’s been plenty of friendly ribbing — I heard plenty last night when Penn Staters completely took over the front patio of Buffalo Phil’s, one of the main bars on The Strip — but I think Mat’s experience has been shared by most Penn Staters down here. The combination of Southern hospitality and respect for a similarly storied program has made for a great welcome.

Here’s Mat and the rest of his group, with a Bama fan from the neighboring tent snapping their photo. “Gonna add this one to the scrapbook,” she said.

If only their football team would be so accommodating tonight.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

Entry filed under: Uncategorized. Tags: , , .

Five Things I Learned on Football Eve in Tuscaloosa Tuscaloosa Postmortem

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. cathy lynn  |  September 11, 2010 at 5:46 pm

    Having been stationed down south for 6 years I can only say Southern Hospitality is AMAZING…still I’m a Penn Stater at heart!

  • 2. Tuscaloosa Postmortem « The Penn Stater Magazine  |  September 13, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    […] I Mention the Atmosphere? I think I might have, but it’s worth mentioning again what a great setting Tuscaloosa is for a big college […]

  • 3. Dale Rummel  |  September 14, 2010 at 1:31 am

    It may be a long season! But there’s always next week.

  • 4. The Tide Rolls into Happy Valley « The Penn Stater Magazine  |  September 9, 2011 at 11:48 am

    […] remains a pretty impressive sense of mutual respect between the programs. A lot of that comes from the way we were treated last year in Tuscaloosa. As such, it’s been nice to see many Penn Staters go out of their way […]

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