Cultural phenomenon Texas A&M vs University of Alabama done!

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.

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Regular tailgaters have their family names printed on banners.

Cultural phenomenon Texas A&M vs University of Alabama

Austin, Texas has a tasty chain of restaurants called Torchy’s Tacos. The Independent is a delicious vegetarian taco (hand-battered and fried portobello mushroom strips with refried black beans, roasted corn, escabeche carrots (*shrug*), cilantro and avocado with a drizzle of ancho aioli. The Brush Fire (jerked chicken), was too hot. They mean it when they say hot.

Torchy's Tacos, The Independent
Torchy’s Tacos, The Independent
The Brush Fire
The Brush Fire

We are not sports fans, and yet my husband and I get to experience a HUGE college football game. Texas A&M versus the University of Alabama. A place to tailgate has been secured. In this case there will be tents, a keg and a gigantic gas barbecue so it’s more like tailgating on steroids.

People have been camping for days to keep their spot outside the stadium. Some tickets are selling for $700. But we will be outside the stadium watching on a TV with huge crowds of people.

The crowds have already overwhelmed the cell phone towers so there’s no way to call out, though texting is still possible. 300,000 people are expected. Hopefully there will be enough porta-potties.

We are excited to participate in this unique cultural experience.

Preparations for game day begin:


Portable Barbecue
Portable Barbecue

Freedom from work, a poem by Nia Simone

Freedom from Work

How nice not to have to get serious.
No need to schedule a meeting.
No wondering when,
of four hundred and sixty
To Dos
one will fall through a crack.
And show up on my review.

No more having to be reasonable
or confine my passions to the acceptable.

No getting narrowly defined.
Though you made it worthwhile
for you (all y’all) accepted my narrowly channeled passion
and let me experience
work with

Now I slipped through a crack
and I am free from work.

Copyright © 2013 Nia Simone. All rights reserved.

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