The Mountaineers won the battle of the National Champions Saturday, beating 2004 I-AA king James Madison 23-10. We were there in our Black and Gold. Here’s some of our day:
As we did last week – and last season – we tailgated. Unlike last season, though, my buddy with the parking pass has been delegated to the main stadium parking. We miss the trees and grass of Duck Pond Field. Gabrielle was showing off her black and gold outfit, complete with Appalachian bib. We got anxious, so headed off to explore.
While out and about we headed to the Duck Pond. “Duck” was one of Gabby’s first words, thanks in part to her day care class taking a field trip to this pond. She knows one when she sees it.
When we got there we found the ducks swarming before a man throwing bagel crumbs their way. He had a bag of more than a dozen bagels at his feet, and invited us to throw as many as we wanted. We introduced ourselves. I learned he was a transient new in town. He arrived eight days ago. He presented himself well and the conversation was light and brief.
We three spent a good 20 minutes fattening the ducks. Gabby really got into it. At first she wanted to throw a whole bagel the ducks’ way. I would take it and tear pieces off. She saw this and, by the time we threw out our last bits, she was working to tear pieces off the bagel herself.
The wife soon joined us (she was at work). Once in the stands she began teaching Gabby the fine art of fandom. She’s a fast learner, as you’ll soon see.
One side note, this photo was taken shortly before Gabby took a stumble in the stands. I was watching the team prepared to erupt from the field house as she shuffled around behind me. I heard her cry out and turned to see one major bloody lip. It looked like she’d crushed a rotten tomato against her mouth. She cried, of course, but it was brief as we wiped off the evidence of bad parenting and consoled her. Within a few seconds she was fine, but her lip swelled like a small balloon. Sunday morning it looked like she had a white pinto bean within her bottom lip, but she hasn’t whined about it since.
For the first time in a few years I witnessed the team storm the field amid smoke and fireworks. Usually I’m still in the parking lot draining that last beverage and helping pack up. Today I ditched the crew behind Tailgate-R-Us so I could what I’ve been missing. Prior to this shot three skydivers brought in the flags and gameball. I think this is a new tradition here, as they did this all last season. Gabby enjoyed watching them float down from the clouds.
After an early 3-0 hole, Appalachian hit the endzone to go up 7-3. As you can see, the clap lessons were successful! Gabby was as ecstatic as most of the 23,000 in Kidd Brewer Stadium. She even belted out a yeah! I especially like this photo for the look on our friend Stacy’s face. She’s holding her son Carter, who had not had a nap all day and it showed.
She really liked that touchdown.
Gabrielle did well cooped up in the stands. She always found something with which to amuse herself. At one point she was inspired to begin cleaning around the bleachers. She nabbed a wipe, bent down and started scrubbing the concrete. I had no idea I had a budding Florence in the family. I need to get her on the athletics payroll.
After three quarters amidst the steel, we spent the fourth on the grassy hill aside the stands. I followed Gabrielle down the hill, where she immediately began exploring the surroundings and looking for treasure. Here’s a shot of one of her discoveries. And yes, that is a Jim Beam bottle. Gotta love that gameday atmosphere.
At one point, Gabby went down to the fence. Alongside here were three little girls screaming at the top of their lungs for the mascot, Yosef. He was standing about 30 yards away. The girls would alternate, “Yosef!!!” …. “Yosef!!!!” … Yosef!!!” Gabrielle was captivated by the sight of the giant man, and had extended her arm through the fence to point at him. At one point the three girls momentarily ceased their yelling. Their silence was broken by Gabrielle yelling, “O-sefff!!!” All three snapped their necks her way, as did I. She repeated herself, “OOO-seffff!” Too funny.
Yosef eventually made his way our way. The wife took Gabby to meet him .. again. Once she got close she pulled back a bit, but finally got brave enough for a tentative five. That was a great way to end the day.