For Californians, 90 degree, muggy Texas heat was a challenge! But experiencing this cultural phenomenon was worth it.
Tailgate parties surrounded the stadium, but there was no need to be nervous about the crowds. The college managed things to perfection. There were plenty of portapotties (TexKans), trucks drove by throughout the day and emptied the garbage cans, and traffic control after the game was flawless. As a result, 300,000 people enjoyed the game and no one was hurt… well, there were some emergencies as I did see an Emergency Medical Service vehicle go through. Alcohol and heat don’t go well together.
The thing that really struck me was how courteous people are in Texas. If somebody accidentally bumps into you, and it does happen when your tailgate tents are right near a sidewalk that carries a steady stream of people, they apologize 10 times. Drivers stay right except to pass on the freeways and they let you merge. Unfortunately, California culture is basically the opposite.
Another very good thing I noticed: our group, about 35 people, was composed of half Texas and half Alabama fans. Being an Alabama fan in the middle of a huge Texas fan base did not pose a danger, however. Though Texas lost, passersby complimented those in our group who were wearing Crimson Tide (Alabama) t-shirts on a good game. And after a hard-fought game, the Texas team lines up and shakes the hands of or even hugs the opposing team.
After a California game in which fans attacked a fan on the other side and put a very nice man into a coma, I appreciate these traits.