I’m sure that’s how it sounded.
We had a grand ‘ol time in Raleigh. App State was in town to take on the — Owwwwwwwwwwww — Wolfpack. I’ve already mentioned the bad news – we lost. Now for the good news – it’s football time!
We got to the Red State a couple hours before kickoff. While on 40 we kept pace with two App fans in a small car. (Which wasn’t easy. They were going 80.) Both dudes wore App jerseys. Doors on both sides carried large white magnet signs with black lettering declaring “On the way to see our Mountaineers play.” They also had black App flags flapping from both rear windows. Yet this ride was not loud enough. To emphasize their point, every time they passed a vehicle with the slightest red or wolf hide, they went into action. Both guys would stretch their arms out the window with their fists thumbs down, shaking them like they were covered in fire ants. This never got old, for them or me.
We pre-gamed at Tailgating ‘R Us. A friend of a friend went all out. You name it, we had it. Chicken, steak, bratwurst, corn, mushrooms – all fresh from the grill. Shrimp cocktail, with sauce. Brownies. Cookies. Grapes. Chips. Salsa. Beer. More beer. Even more beer. Can’t tailgate without it (unless you’re tg’ing at Liberty. Then it’s wine only. Blessed of course).
Gabrielle was in high spirits all day. She had on her App shirt (My favorite color is Appalachian gold) and at one point was livin large with a cob of corn in one hand, some chicken in the other (Bite-Bite!). She and I spent some time walking around the grounds. We crashed another tailgate party. She spied an empty tailgate chair and went to it like pepper to jack. She climbed in and turned around to sit, slinking down into an Al Bundy pose. The strangers we met took great delight in snapping photos. It’s not often I’m at the other end of the flash. Kinda odd, really. Just what were they going to do with those photos? Maybe they have a blog!
While tailgating we did was tailgaters do. We ate, we drank, we talked trash (lots of NCSU fans around). The wife and other wives busied themselves with what wives should busy themselves with – browsing a catalog of .. um … romantic accessories. The wife of a friend of a friend sells them part-time. I shant go into any further detail. I will only add that the men in our group were cheering long before gametime.
One other note – we tg’ed at a field newly reserved by NCSU for such activities. And, this being NCSU (We Ain’t All Farmers. Some Of Us Is Mechanics), there wasn’t a toilet in sight, plastic or porcelain. I assume they wanted fresh fertilizer for the field. We pulled a Mountaineer MacGyver, using a large blanket, SUV and tinted windows to create a makeshift outhouse. We were indeed the most popular party that side of Carter-Finley.
Thirty minutes before kickoff we began our hike. We trekked about a mile to the den, aka. Carter-Finley Stadium. It was packed with more than 56,000 people, most in red. The wife had never been to a game that large. Of course Gabby has only been to two games, both in Boone. Once in the stands we all three fit right in. Anytime the App fans roared, Gabby laughed. She clapped when the crowd clapped and danced when the band played. Unfortunately, that also included times when the NC State fans roared and the NC State band played. As the season progresses I’ll make sure to instruct her in the proper unsportsmanlike decorum. For example, actual conversation during the game:
The ASU band leaves the stands headed for the field. An NC State turns back and asks us, “Where are the banjos?”
I pause for the laughter to die before asking, “When do you bring your tractors out?”
“Third quarter,” he said meekly.
After halftime Gabby tired a bit. Too much noise, not enough roam. We were packed tighter than a Maria Carey bra. State fans must have butts as wide as No. 2 pencils. Bleacher space allotted per ticket was smaller than Carolina’s chance of a perfect season. State should change its name from Wolfpack to Wolfslack, cause we were shorted some steel. But(t) we managed. We Mountaineers are tough like that.
With less than four minutes to go and less a chance of winning than me ever meeting Jodie Foster, we three split for the hotel. It was close to 9 and Gabby was still pretty wound. She appeared to really enjoy the atmosphere. My plan to create a fellow fan appears to be progressing nicely. The next class is Saturday at home. The topic is James Madison. Gabrielle, can you say “boooooo”?