November 25-26, 2022 Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Not sure where to begin or how to end (not wanting an end) because this travel brought so much emotion out in me for so many reasons. This is a 2 parter. I suppose we can start with football and the impetus for the trip. I was asked by a good pal to be part of football extravaganza that would take us to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Without hesitation I said I was "in". Actually said yes before even knowing where or when. I knew about the University of Alabama and its rich football tradition, mostly because Forrest Gump played there, but this is not a place a big city kid goes to experience their first college football game, is it? Why not! Why not have a first dip in a place where football culture takes over, a rich mosaic of tradition that is so deeply rooted. I had zero expectations and maybe that is the best way to go into things, no pretentions, no preconceived notions, although I did imagine a slight vision of what it would look like. I am a Canadian kid who's experience with university athletics involves a stadium with 2000 kids, maybe, who know nothing about football. Just different up here. Really amped to have been part of the Iron Bowl (see below link) that dates back to 1893! 1893 - say it to yourself out loud. Some of the greatest college and NFL players suit up here to play with the Crimson Tide. For those who don't know much about football, there is a tradition of tailgating with perfect strangers. Simply, you eat and drink hours before the game (sweet tea and bourbon is a new fav of mine!) in a parking lot outside of the stadium. Fun and hilarious and silly but it's very communal and gives sense of belonging, a sense of freedom and a deep down feeling of warmth. Once you are properly prepared, you roll into the stadium, walk into (and out of) the vomitorium (learnt this term in Israel, a great word look it up) to a sea of 100,000 of us. Say it to yourself out loud, 100,000. Everyone wearing the crimson and yelling at the top of their lungs. The football game itself was fun and more fun as we had placed a small wager on the amount of total points was to be scored in the game. Pleased to say we chose correctly and what an extra fun feeling is that. The game itself was entertaining and loud and fun and hilarious and silly and just when you think it couldn't have gotten any better - HALFTIME! The marching band did a tribute to Elvis. Heaven was close enough to touch it. What took so long for this Canadian kid to experience such an affair? Everything about the experience was pure gold, nuggets of gold showering us at every moment and around every corner we turned. God bless the University of Alabama and god bless the USA. ROLL TIDE!
These are 2 sorority houses. Yes sorority houses that's what I said, say it out loud. Look out for a documentary coming soon called "RUSH". It is all about the inner workings of the process at the University of Alabama.
VRBO in Tuscaloosa. Very quaint house in Northport which is just on the other side of the river, about 3 miles from the university and Bryant-Denny stadium. 3 bedroom house for 4 of us, luckily I was one of the elder statesman and I got a room with a queen, and also lucky that one of the 4 of us, didn't make it home the first night, so the couch was cold. He's fine. Best part of the house, was a convenience store literally right next door. I love my convenience. Within walking distance, there was a nice strip of restaurants and bars. Convenient.
To be honest, I didn't even get pics of this one and for reasons that will be unraveled in my next post. It was fine, who needed sleep anyways, on such a high from the first night and after the game on Saturday, the couch would've sufficed.
NOT MUCH OF IT THANKS TO THE IRON BOWL - THE COLLEGE BAR HOPPING ALSO CONTRIBUTED TO THE LACK OF SLEEP OR NEED FOR IT
You know how Jim Nantz says during The Masters "A tradition like no other"? There is already some planning for next years college football extravaganza, well this is going to be my tradition like no other and hopefully for years to come if the boys will have me back. It was great to feel like a kid again in a university town and bar hopping all night, screaming, losing your voice. FUN, SILLY AND HILARIOUS. Football, Thanksgiving in the USA, tailgating, good food, good drink, and most importantly good humans to be with. I hope for all of us humans around the world, we can get together for whatever reason it may be and just be good to each other with no judgement and no pre conceived notions and know how lucky we are that there are special people around the world to be able to connect with even if its only for a night, a weekend, a football game a meal or a boogie. 🏈🦃🍸🍷🍺🍻🍗
Apologies - you have to turn your head at some point. Turn it up to 11.
GREAT RELATED LINKS