Tuesday, September 6, 2011

LSU v Oregon

I've finally decided I need a job. This conclusion brought to you by a need to support my college football drinking habit. What a glorious first Saturday of the season!

I went to the new LSU bar because it is a bar I endorse even when it's not an LSU bar. It's chill, it's around the corner from my dad's work where I can park in police car only parking with impunity, and it turns out I made friends with the bartenders on my own BEFORE they found out who I was related to and started calling me my brother's sister/father's daughter.

I've sporadically over the years attended game watching at whatever the LSU bar was and it's always been a pretty anticlimactic event. Not enough lead time to know where it was, I'd already have other plans, the crowd skewed older and not that fun, the bars were in inconvenient locations, no one cheered loudly or had witty banter, not loud enough sound, no playing of the fight song...just all around failure to bring it. I preferred watching from the safety of my own couch with my own beverages instead of with a bunch of strangers who weren't very engaging. Which is surprising, considering Southerners are famously chatty and warm. All those opinions were changed with heading to North Star for a huge matchup with the Ducks to start the season.

I knew it would be fun when we walked in and while I waited to get a beer at the front of the bar, I end up standing next to a drunk guy with a Navy jersey on and a big giant academy ring on. The LSU bar also happens to be the Navy bar. I am so totally okay with this. I was wearing an LSU t-shirt with a small LSU written over the breast pocket. Navy alum stares intensely at it. Gay best friend points out loudly to Navy alum that he is staring at my breasts. He shrugs. I laugh uncomfortably, because that is what I do when I'm sober. But not wanting to miss an opportunity, I engage with said Navy alum and ask him a) how drunk he is, as I'm sure Navy played an early game (Answer: very). And b) who did Navy play? When he tells me Delaware I say, "Oh, the fighting blue hens." I, of course, get that look. Ya know, the look guys give me when they're shocked that any girl anywhere knows who the eff the mascot of the University of Delaware is. The shit in my brain...

I grabbed a seat at the table in the middle of the back of the bar. There was an LSU mom type next to me. She was in town helping her daughter move in. Her daughter had just moved here from D.C. and took a gig with eBay. Literally just moved in, as in doesn't even have cable in her apartment yet. They were amazingly fun and as I used to be the youngest LSU alum at bars, it was nice, and humbling, to be surrounded by people who graduated in 2008. My dad stopped by. My brother stopped by at halftime and I talked to him a bit out front, before talking to the Navy alum again. I was definitely feeling the effects of the on-special Abita. I cracked up the bar staff by referring to Abita Strawberry as child molester beer. Seriously, everyone loves that stuff. I don't know why. It tastes no different than Boone's Strawberry Farm. When Kathryn, Chuck, and I first had it in Louisiana we joked that it was the stuff child molesters used to lure little girls into their vans. When I told bar staff that, they laughed. (Yes, this is a horribly inappropriate joke. But seriously, it's a JOKE. Relax.)

I saw that 49 people had RSVP'd to game watching at the bar on our local chapter facebook page but I figured that was an inflated number and assumed the crowd would be a lot smaller, as it had been at past games I'd attended. Uh. I assumed wrong. I showed up a good half hour before kickoff and was lucky to procure a seat. Beth and Michael, non-football fans who joined me, were shocked at how crowded it was. They thought there'd be like 5 people. I think they were both a little overwhelmed. I have a natural inclination to make sure my friends are okay and having fun and comfortable but I had to let it go. I was there to watch football. We knew that was what was on the agenda. I wanted to have my fun and anyone that wasn't having fun could leave. I went out for a bit of air at half time and Beth had a smoke and she left then. I don't think she was upset or anything, it just wasn't really her scene. Her and Michael both mentioned liking having a couch to watch a game from. Those are fair comments. But for me? These are my people and this is my environment and talking to another girl that actually agrees when I say, "We need to get our defense off the field so they can rest" and knew the names of more players than I did was fantastic. 

Actually: I was wearing the bracelet that my mom got me for my birthday. I call it a fancy friendship bracelet. It's made with thread wrapped around silver and has a slide enclosure thing. It's in LSU colors, naturally. It kept coming loose every time I would clap and I was constantly fidgeting with it. Michael finally said, "Why don't you just take it off?" This was about halfway through the second quarter. I sort of just looked at him. The LSU mom looks at him and says, "She can't." It was the first time in FOREVER that someone just got it. Michael looked at her quizzically and she explained, "If she takes it off and they lose..." YES! That! Exactly that! It makes sense to someone other than me! I'm suddenly not alone with my insane superstitions. 

In fact, they were MORE superstitious than I am. I kept seeing not unattractive Oregon players and making comments as such. The girl said, "Stop saying that! It'd be like dating the enemy!" I told her I was old, and thus not picky, and it's not like Oregon is in our conference, I feel a lot less guilty about it. In typical fun fan banter, she disagreed and said it would be sacrilegious. She also has been in the Bay Area for about five minutes and has no idea how tough the football fan dating scene is. I should give her some time, she'll change her mind.

So we won. We beat Oregon. We beat the #3, ranked a place ahead of us, team in the country. It is nice to be the winner. I won't get all hyperbolic about it. I was ignoring all the "LSU to the BCS!" comments in the press following it because it's week one of the season and a lot can, and will, happen. But I'd be lying if I said it didn't pass through my brain that I should start looking at ticket futures and ask for a trip to New Orleans for my Christmas present. I won't. It's jinxy. But it crossed my mind. Speaking of jinxy! I also have a ticket to cash from Las Vegas. It is excellent when we win.

When my brother stopped by he said all the bars dedicated to teams were packed. And I explained that, yeah, of course they are. Your team is perfect on the first day of the season. So you're hopeful. And it's a great time to connect with other alumni. Though I never really left a one block area, I can imagine that everyone was spilling out of bars, celebrating victories or drowning defeats (sorry, Notre Dame fans). It was a glorious start to the season and I can't even explain accurately how great it was to start with a matchup that mattered, under the giant screens of Jerradome, with a win. I can't talk about the game, I need to re-watch it with a sober, non-distracted by bar going eye. What I do know for sure is that when Les Miles came out of the tunnel and wasn't sure where to go, I just thought, "That's about perfect. That is so totally our coach." In the post game he would spell "geaux" wrong. Which would then be reported wrong, his exact incorrect spelling. Regardless, shirts have already been printed up with his new spelling of geaux. I love everything about LSU football.

Dinner after with Michael and my dad, more drinking with Cheryl back at North Star where my dad came to visit with me while working and I met the owner, the bartenders through another bartender friend of my dad's and finally, after four meetings, the one bartender who I had made friends with earlier by, ya know, drinking a lot finally said "Oh! I know your brother! He was here earlier." Yeah. To see me. Have I ever mentioned how small this city is? No? I didn't think so. But it was fine. And fun.

And I get so many more weekends of it. (I have October 8th circled. Fleet week, Navy game at noon, Caps game at 3, LSU game at 5. Gonna be epic.) Giggity!

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