Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Death Valley on a Saturday Night

Our First South Carolina Home Game 
October 10, 2015 

It was a typical Wednesday afternoon of chaos and craziness at school and around 2PM I get a text from Chris saying "Because of the hurricane in South Carolina, the SEC has moved the game from Columbia, SC to Baton Rouge. Tickets might be easy to get... Wanna go?" Amidst my students playing percussion instruments at stations and the noise that goes along with that I stood there looking at my phone and thought "Why Not"... I mean could it get any more chaotic than 2nd graders banging on a drum? That evening we began to research the game and tickets and sure enough we were able to score some tickets inside Death Valley Stadium in Baton Rouge for $40 each, which is well over 1/2 price for an SEC game. We spoke with Gigi Jackie and Grandpa who gladly took the kids for the weekend and we headed east. 

We decided to leave Saturday morning around 6:30AM because kickoff wasn't until 2:30PM. This would allow us plenty of time to make the 4 hour 30 minute trip to Baton Rouge from our house in The Woodlands. The drive was easy and the traffic was very light. We made it into Baton Rouge around 11:30AM and started to look for parking. We were able to find parking very quickly near the Tiger Band Hall and it was actually free since this game came into fruition so late. Another $20-40 saved just by not having to pay for parking. 

One of the primary parking spots on campus that was not only NOT full but not even busy or open! This was NOT a true SEC experience. 

Once we got parked we headed up towards the central area of the campus, the parade grounds, where a FREE tailgate party was being offered by the university to both LSU and South Carolina fans. We got to the tailgating tent around 12:10PM and unfortunately, the seafood gumbo was already gone and most of the side dishes were as well. We got some bags of chips and some water before heading out to see more of the deserted campus. I had been to one other LSU home football game back in 2008 which was a game against North Texas so it was not a typical LSU home atmosphere. This was much like that is not worse. The campus was deserted and the fans were not as rowdy; however, they were very gracious and hospitable to the South Carolina fans who made the trip in from Columbia. I was highly impressed with their friendliness towards South Carolina in general. In fact, the SEC was a "class act" with the whole situation. I hate to say it but WAY TO GO SEC!

A panoramic view of the Parade Grounds... It was EMPTY! 

My hubby at his favorite place on earth! 

We went back up to the main area of the campus where the drumline was playing. Chris went over to the Greek Amphitheater to listen to the drumline while I found a tailgating tent with a TV and watched my Sooners trail going into halftime of the Red River Rivalry Game (OU vs Texas). This did nothing but make my blood pressure higher as I knew that would happen since OU had played outstanding the weeks leading up the game and saxeT had not won a single game. I knew we would go into the game with a big head and that would make us lose. Yep... Called it! We lost... in fact, we didn't even show up! Gosh I hate saxeT. 

After we heard the drumline warm-up we waited outside the School of Music for the band to form and lead the parade to Tiger Stadium. While we waited Chris ran into someone he knew from Baton Rouge many years ago and someone he went to LSU with. That was a cool moment for him and I was happy to meet someone from his past!

The Saxophones getting ready for the march to Tiger Stadium. 

The drum major calling the band to the attention position. 

The saxes marching by us on their way to the Stadium. 

The policeman brought up the rear of the parade. 

We are ready to cheer on the Tigers! 

It was about 1:00PM and the Golden Band from Tigerland formed along the street and began marching towards Tiger Stadium. This was a lot of fun as thousands of fans followed the band down the trail to the stadium. After the parade we headed towards Mike the Tiger's habitat, He was up and walking around and was absolutely gorgeous.

Outside of Mike's habitat getting ready to go into the game. 

Such a PRETTY campus! 
Soon after that we went into the stadium and headed up towards our seats in the upper section of the stadium. We made it to our seats just 9 rows from the very top. Both Chris and I had never witnessed a football game from that high so it was a very pleasant experience. Since it was still a South Carolina Home Game they played the SC intro video and introduced all of their players and the LSU band even played the South Carolina Alamatar which I thought was very classy.

A view of South Baton Rouge from our seats. 

Welcome to DEATH VALLEY! 

Geaux Tigers. 

Chris and I enjoyed the game and despite talking about changing seats and going to a lower section since the game was only at 40% capacity we stayed in our seats so Chris could talk football with the fans around us. 

The last time I went to LSU I had some of the best stadium food I ever had and easily the absolute best BBQ pulled park sandwich of my life. I was hoping for much of the same and I was not disappointed. I stood in line for about 10 minutes getting $3.50 hot dogs only to find a Tony Chachere's stand offering all kinds of Cajun goodies. I got a bowl of seafood jambalya and a Crawfish pie for Chris and I to share and let me just say... it was AMAZING! The jamabalya was perfectly cooked and delicious and the crawfish pie was just as tasty and so unique for a football game. Later in the game I got a special piece of LSU cookie cake offered by Great American Cookie company. Once again, the concession stand inside Tiger Stadium did not disappoint.

The seafood jambalaya was INCREDIBLE! 

The crawfish pie was also VERY GOOD! 

Real Great American Cookies INSIDE a Stadium?
How cool!

This is what the cookie looked like. I will be honest, I was expecting a little bit more decorating and icing like the ones you would find at the mall,,, but it still was very good! Worth $6? Maybe not! 

LSU ended up winning the game and it was a GREAT experience. We were able to make it back to our car and get back on the road and get back home. We thought about staying the night but honestly our weekends had been completely packed with events and duties since the beginning of school and they were only going to get worse as the rest of October and November came so we decided to just make it a 1 day trip. We had to stop a few times along the way for gas and food but made it back around 12:15AM. It literally was an ALL DAY trip but we had a BLAST!

Welcome to our 1st South Carolina HOME game!

The things we do for LOVE... I do love you Chris Davis, because that color just does NOT look good on me! 

Selfie from our seats 9 rows from the top. 

Chris has always wanted to take me to LSU for a SEC game and really get the "Tiger Bait" experience as he calls it. While this game was not the experience he was hoping for, it still was a LOT of fun and I am really glad we decided to make the long day trip and experience this together. I still hope to be able to go to a sold out crowd of LSU fans and watch an LSU vs Alabama or LSU vs Florida game some day but for now... I got my "Geaux Tigers" fix! Purple may look good on me but I prefer to wear Crimson and Cream! BOOMER SOONER!

God is good... All the time!  

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