Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Go Colonials!

Welcome back to another thrilling (not to mention lengthy) instalment of ‘Sully does America’ (well, the United States maybe).
So what’s new since my last post? Well, other than a bit of dicking around with the HTML template, I've been reshuffling my classes at school, so I now get Mondays AND Fridays (not to mention Thursdays!) off, so I should get some more travelling done over the coming weeks.

Last Saturday the Robert Morris Colonials played their first homegame against the Duquesne University team. My first live American Football game (I had watched the Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Miami Dolphins the Monday beforehand)! So how'd it go?

It was quite a spectacle.

The Midfield area

The first thing I noticed, is that there was a lot going on as I approached the on-campus stadium. In the car park, there were fans participating in the pre-game ritual of 'Tailgating', which is showing up a few hours before the game, going into the car-park and setting up a barbeque or some kind of cooking apparatus, then drinking beers and eating and having a gay old time before kick-off is even considered! There were some elaborate constructions involving RVs and patio-furniture, all of which I failed to photograph - but I promise I'll be there next time to document this holy practice.

As soon as I was outside the stadium, I noticed the ticket kiosk (where a free ticket awaited me, thanks to my RMU-ID card), and a few food tents set up to the sides by the entrances. Seeing as I was running late, I went straight into the entrance, and was instantly bombarded with people offering me various Colonial-related paraphernalia, programmes, posters, calendars, and even a Colonial - branded plastic water-bottle. This stuff was free! I couldn’t believe the amount of support behind what I would later find out was a pretty crappy college football team.

After making my way through the tunnel of free stuff, I found myself to the back of the bleachers, and was stunned by the amount of people there in support of both home and away teams. I made my way to the bleachers where the Joanna and Claire were keeping my spot, and didn’t say much to them as I took in the amount of stuff going on. There were cheerleaders frolicking and jumping around right in front of me, to the right there was a dance team shaking their booties in support of the hometeam, a rather impressive band were playing some jazzy songs over the cacophony of cheering and general chatter. There was an announcer who made countless advertisements on behalf of the sponsors of the Colonials in the schmaltzy voice that only an American can truly pull off. All this was happening as cameramen were scurrying around, both from the RMU TV station and the local Pittsburgh network, trying to get the best positions to shoot what they need. There was also a mascot, who was possibly the most entertaining part of the whole affair.

Is it wrong that I want to make a

When it was time for the hometeam to make their dramatic entrance, the band played some triumphant music to welcome our heroes. Fifty-something players poured onto the field. That was one team! Then fifty-something other players poured onto the team. Their combatants! On top of that there were about five officials, probably more. So I watched in a stupor as the football players jumped around like drug-crazed rock stars, throwing their fists in the air and eliciting huge cheers from the assembled crowd. All the clichés are correct and present - the chest-on-chest bouncing - the helmet-grab-and-head butt manoeuvre, and all of the usual screaming and whatnot.

The game itself was a mixed bag. There were moments of elation, disappointment, sheer frustration and total boredom. The problem with the game is the stop/start nature of it. There were some spectacular tackles, with guys flying head-over-heels, collisions in mid air, helmets flying across the field and a lot of heavy hits. But that’s when the going was good. The entirety of the third-period was entirely non-eventful, and most of it was spent watching the cheerleaders (and one particular dance-team girl, whose ridiculous ass-shaking kept catching my eye, but that‘s neither here nor there), as they assembled human pyramids and other hugely impressive frivolous constructions of human bodies.

At half time, there was free pizza and cans of soft drink (I availed of four slices of the former, and two of the latter), which was quite cool. The spectators needed a bit of refreshment after sitting out in the sun for so long.

The entire affair took over three hours - three hours spent sitting in the baking sun. By the end of the day, I had a glowing, burnt, red face, save for the pasty-white area around my eyes where I was wearing sunglasses, which provided more than its fair share of laughs, believe you me.

Excuse the amateurish video, the shaky footage is from a digital camera, and I wanted to leave the ambient sounds in rather than throwing some rock music over it. It kinda shows you what I mean by the fact that theres a lot more going on than just a football game, right?

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