As the clock struck 1:00 am ET, I lay in bed, completely exhausted. My pants are hanging in my bathroom with an aroma of BBQ sauce, a Taco Bell box in the trash can and various tailgating supplies strewn around my place. I hold my ticket for the game that just happened. I'll add it to the collection of many others. So many stories behind each ticket. Here's the story of App State versus Georgia Southern 2015.
As an App fan, I've been looking forward to this day for a long time. It's been seven years since a weeknight game in Boone. And it's against Georgia Southern. I've been to the last nine meetings in person so I know it'll be a war, but this one is special because of the circumstances. So I have to treat it as special.
Pre-gamming began the day before at 3:00 pm watching Champions League because I took off two days of work. Both games on the two main TV's ended up 0-0, but my tolerance has been built up.
It has begun. pic.twitter.com/OntdmsZuDX— Thomas K (@tkappstate) October 21, 2015
On Thursday, I head into downtown around mid-day. Tailgating can't start til three, so I go to a nearby restaurant. Two-dollar domestics are had as the group arrives. A nice collection amasses on the table.
Before the clock starts three, tailgating has begun because we can. A car with Georgia Southern flags parked on the street in front of the tailgate spot. After careful debate, recycling bags are put over them so 1) we don't have to look at them and 2) they don't get torn off, which was very possible. The vehicle owners came back around later and tore the bags off. They were gone by the time we got back after the game, so who knows.
Tailgate is a party, always is. Fellowship is had and discussion takes place, not much about the game but about how everyone is doing. For many, the home games are the only times to see each other.
With an hour before kickoff, it's time for tear down. It takes time but it's done. Last game it didn't happen due to the downpour and amount of people under the tents. This game, it gets done and 20 minutes before kickoff, I head up the hill to the stadium.
For the first game of the year, a belligerently drunk co-ed had me escort her across the stadium parking lot to the gates like I was her pimp, a idea she put out there. No such happening this game as I weave between cars, avoiding rear-view mirrors for the umpteenth time. Along the way I see what's in the picture below and snicker.
You know that feeling when you emerge from the tunnel and get that first good look of the stadium and the field? That feeling of "Wow" despite having done it for years? Never gets old.
Game takes place. After the first drive the Apps adjust and makes the Eagles look silly. It's beyond my wildest dreams. At one points I just start yelling "Jayson Foster can't help you now!" because...well.. he can't.
I scream and yell for every defensive third down and get others to do the same. It hasn't been this electric in years. Even going to get a drink at halftime didn't take long. Everything was going right.
The Apps are systematically taking apart the Eagles. But few people leave because they want to see this finished.
After going up 31-7 with six minutes left in the game, I took out and jingled my keys. One of my buddies screams at me to put those away because the game isn't over yet. Fair enough.
Final score in 31-13, but it felt like more. App State is bowl eligible for the first time. Walking out, fans chant "We're goin' bowling!"
I walk past the Ga Southern buses and I snicker due to something that happened 12 years ago. People are excited but also tired because it's near 11 pm.
After the game walking pack to the parking lot, bad luck finaly strikes. I jump off a two-foot edge to scare my friend. When I land, my left foot slips. I pirouette in effort to stay up, but gravity and inertia win the day and I tumble onto the pavement.
I let everyone within a three-mile radius that I'm okay, then I wonder who spilled water on the ground. Then I feel it. My first instinct is that I'm now covered in puke, but it doesn't smell like puke. Then I get a whiff of it. What is now coating the right leg of my body is BBQ sauce.
How unused BBQ sauce got spilled in the parking lot is a mystery to me. Who would waste BBQ sauce like that? And in case you're wondering, it felt like hickory-smoked BBQ sauce.
I'm able to locate a cooler with water in it and give myself a bath of sorts. I get it off my skin but the jeans will need washing. Still, the plan is to go out to the bars because none of us want this night to end.
I drive past the bars and see a mess of people. It's almost midnight already, it'll take an hour to get in and the bars close at 2. Not worth it, so I'm going home. But I'm starving and not in the mood to make food at home. Need something and based on the lines everywhere, After consideration, I pick Taco Bell.
It took THIRTY MINUTES to get food. There was maybe 7-8 cars in front of me. And the drive-thru is one where you can't get out once your in. So here I am, prisoner of the Taco Bell drive thru with my jeans smelling of BBQ sauce, but I'm still euphoric from the game.
While waiting in line at Taco Bell, I decide to look at the internet. I see the initial stories about how an office building caught fire and someone stole and ambulance and chuckle. I go to the message boards, which was maybe a bad idea because people are always complaining about something. Regardless, words are written that are now on the internet forever.
I get ten tacos and they were all consumed. I feel great, take a hot shower and call it a night. Friday morning wasn't pleasant.
No regrets, would do again. Next home game is this weekend. It's Halloween so I gotta pick a costume.