Daily Local News (West Chester, PA)

College football culture shock

- Chelsea Reyher is the online editor at the Daily Local News. You may reach her at creyher@dailylocal.com or follow her on Twitter @ DailyLocal­CMR.

It’s week 10 of the season, the Eagles have won more games than they lost and I’m in the top four of my fantasy league — football is in full swing.

I’ve always enjoyed watching the games with my dad, but I went to an all-girls high school and a very small college with no football program. So the only team I’ve ever had to root for has been the Eagles — until about two years ago.

Jeremy, my fiancé, is a graduate of Auburn University in Alabama. So I’ve adopted “War Eagle” as a slogan, worn more orange and blue and started hating Alabama fans.

I’ve watched enough Auburn games to witness the emotional investment of its fans, but it wasn’t until last weekend, when we went to the Auburn versus South Carolina game, that I really experience­d the college football culture shock.

Before we even went down, I learned that if you are going to go to an Auburn game, dress appropriat­ely. Initially, I thought I’d wear my Auburn Tshirt and a pair of jeans — typical attire for a sporting event. That would be wrong. All of the girls wear dresses, and when Jeremy was a pledge in his fraternity, he had to wear a coat and tie. Despite all the drinking, game days are a classy affair.

I knew that the sport was important to the students and community, but the campus alone could tell you that.

Football is literally the epicenter of Auburn University, as the stadium is in the middle of the campus. If I felt lost on campus at any point, I could spot Jordan Hare Stadium and get my bearings.

Not only was it strategica­lly placed, but I could feel its enormity when I first walked in.

The stadium holds 87,451 people, while Lincoln Financial Field only holds 69,176. In fact, according to Wikipedia, the top 10 largest football stadiums are all home to college football teams, as opposed to NFL teams.

Before the start of every home game, the Auburn eagle flies around stadium and lands on the field. (While the mascot of the university is Aubie the tiger, this is where “War Eagle” comes from.) Following that is the band and the team’s entrance through the tunnel.

Last weekend was a win against the Carolina Gamecocks, which meant that students handed out toilet paper and we tossed it into the trees near the entrance to the university.

While I’ve heard that Route 322 in Happy Valley becomes a parking lot on game days, I’ve never seen so many crazed college-football fanatics before.

I’m looking forward to another game next year, but I think I’d like to fly. Fifteen

hours in the car for a four-hour game was quite the commute.

 ?? Chelsea Reyher Reyher’s Digest ??
Chelsea Reyher Reyher’s Digest

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