Gameday Gameday Cotton Bowl Gameday

“If you follow me on twitter you know I had diarrhea today. Am I using that website properly?” – Daniel Tosh

But really, if you follow me on twitter you know that I like to come up with clever (I think) things to say on Gameday. Wed it was Gameday Gameday Sunflower Showdown Gameday. Saturday it was Gameday Gameday Cat Fight Gameday. Friday, of course, was the title of this post. Although Jimmy Dean beat me to it. Not happy.

We slept in Friday morning, grabbed a quick breakfast and then got ready for the game.

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Yes, the game was at 7pm. Yes, we left the hotel at 12:30pm. Yes, I thought that was going to be annoying. No, it totally wasn’t. As we boarded the buses there was an air of excitement and anticipation. I was anx. The police escort, YES I AM SO SUPER AWESOME THAT I REQUIRE A POLICE ESCORT! led our buses to the Arlington Convention Center.

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There was a pregame event full of about 2000 Wildcats, a buffet (BBQ – Thanks Texas), beer and wine (INCLUDED! Yay package!) and all the pregame fun you can handle. We ate. (I pretended the beans weren’t made with meat) We drank. And then The Pride came out. I take The Pride for granted. Later at the game, I realized this. They are amazing. They came in, playing the Alma Mater and I sang along loudly. Then they played the Wabash and it was in that moment, cheerleaders surrounding tables, Classy Cats in another section, Swagger Polo and I wabashing our hearts out that I leaned over and said: “This is my favorite”. This week made me more proud to be a Wildcat than I’ve ever been. And this moment I knew I’d remember forever. The Nation is unlike any other.

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Some big names spoke again at this event, hyping everyone up for the game. We continued to get our money’s worth from the bar and then we did this:

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Boom!

That’s why you do the package.

We took lots of pictures outside of the two stadiums, it was a gorgeous day in Dallas:

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Once the event came to a conclusion, we headed for the stadium. This is when reality started to hit. Somehow we were on the Arkansas side of the parking lots. Until this moment I had probably seen 1 or 2 Arkansas fans all week. It was a KSU love-fest and I kinda forgot we were playing the #6 team in the nation. A school much closer to Dallas than Manhattan, KS. It became clear very quickly that the Razorbacks were in town.

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We took tons of photos of the stadium on our walk in and then stopped to try to take a photo of ourselves with the stadium in the background. This is when it happened. An Arkansas fan came up and said, “No no no, let me do that for you.”

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Must be the Southern hospitality. Arkansas is in the South, right? Kentucky? No? He was SOOO nice. He chatted with Swagger Polo the entire walk up to the stadium, asking us where we were from and how long we’d be in town. Then we stood in line with a gaggle of Razorbacks (I know gaggle is for geese, what’s a group of pigs called? Jana, you know this one, right?) and this nice older woman chatted me up as we entered security. She told me a hilarious (to her) story about how she thought our colors were green (way to do ANY research) and how she’d shown up to Dallas in a purple sweater. I smiled politely. These people were too nice to hate. Then I saw this:

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Dangit!! Too cute and too nice to hate!

We entered the world famous stadium and began clicking away, me on our camera, Swagger Polo on his phone. It. Was. Huge. And confusing. We tried to walk all the way around the stadium but after walking down and then up some stairs and around to one dead end after another we realized you couldn’t walk all the way around. Lame sauce. We headed up a spiral concourse to our section. 441. I had to take off my long sleeved shirt and put up my hair before we made it to the top. I was sweating. Disgusto. And out of breath. WTF?

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Then we got to our section and started ascending the stairs. I was getting light headed. You guys! It was far. And our seats were legit 3 rows from the very top of the stadium. In the middle of the row. Yowza!

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A few Arkansas fans sat in our row, with two empty seats between them and I. I hoped for some Wildcats, fearing a repeat of the Alabama Bball game if not. Finally, this older couple showed up. Dressed in Red. Awesome. EXCEPT THEY WERE SUPER NICE! Who knew Arkansas was full of so many friendly people? And while I’m going there, let’s talk about the SEC and what they wear to football games. Keep in mind I was down to a tank top and chaffing jeans due to the walk up to our seats. These college girls were dressed in mini skirts and cute tops. Dude. For a football game? I get it, it’s the South. There were also tons of guys dressed in slacks and ties. Bow ties!

As the older gentleman next to me sat down he said, “How do you know if you’re on the right side?” and I said, “Oh, you’re on the wrong side.” He laughed and said, “I know that but isn’t there a section 441 on the other side too?” I pulled out my ticket to show him the stadium map on the back. I’m super helpful.

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Then the Pride came out. And I was reminded why they are the best in the nation. Our pregame is awesome and I expect that all football schools have a similar entrance. Especially the SE – we think we’re better than the rest of you– C. I was completely underwhelmed by their intro. But a little overwhelmed by how loud their fans were. We quickly realized it seemed so loud because we were facing a wall of Red. They were hearing us, just as loud. For the record, there were more Arkansas fans than Cat fans. That is indisputable.

 

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After the pregame festivities The Band Perry took the field to sing the National Anthem. I totally forgot they were singing. Love. Them.

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Then the game started. And not well. CK didn’t look like his normal self and I was anxious. If he doesn’t carry that offense we don’t get off to a good start.

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Then he fumbled. Then they returned a punt for a touchdown. F.

It wasn’t looking good. And I was tired of “woooooo!!!” Can we please talk about this? Swagger Polo, skip this section. He got really tired of me bitching about this but I need to share it with you. KSU is full of traditions, especially when a touchdown is scored. After the extra point is kicked Willie takes the field to crank out as many push ups as we have points while The Nation counts them aloud. Then he does the K-S-U Chant. Then we do the Wabash. THAT IS HOW YOU CELEBRATE A TOUCHDOWN. I expected that all football schools have a similar celebration. Especially the SEC. Arkansas simply did their ONE AND ONLY CHANT. What I’m referring to as the most backwoods, country representation of a school in all of college sports. AND I WENT TO AN AG COLLEGE! Someone yells, “Come on, Let’s! CALL! THOSE! HOGS!” and then grown men yell in an incredibly high pitched voice, “Wooooo” while they all waive their fingers in the air. Then they chant, “Piiiigg Sooooo-ie!” Seriously? I don’t even know why their mascot is a razorback. They never refer to them as that, it’s always Hogs. (I’m not stupid, I know razorback, hog, and pig are interchangeable, they just never use the word razorback) This is the only negative thing I’ll say (no, there’s one more coming at the end of the game) about Arkansas because truly, their fans were off the charts nice.

As the first half wore on (longest half ever, I thought) we blocked an extra point and I lost my frickin’ mind. Seriously, I dropped my phone because I got so damn excited and was SCA-REAMING so loud. When I saw that we only got 2 points from that I looked at Swagger Polo, puzzled. “Yeah, that’s a safety,” he confirmed, WTF?! I said, “That was waaaaay too much work for 2 points”. The offense finally got going a little at the end of the half and due to our stellar D we were still hanging with the Hogs but I was worried. This wasn’t the team I’d watched all season. I was confident that the genius, Bill Snyder, would make some adjustments at half time and we’d play better in the second half.

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The seats had Dallas Cowboy Stars on them

DSCF0108As I descended 7 million stairs to use the bathroom I heard my name. Then I saw LAB (Lauren Allen Webb). We chatted about our trips to Dallas and the first half and then we took a photo. Or rather her friend took a photo because my photog skills weren’t working.

The Pride continued to represent KSU well during their halftime show. It was really bad ass with lots of movement and marching.
I’ll wax over the second half because those of you that care probably watched it. I will say, when we pulled within 3 I started to feel confident. Eight of our 10 wins this season came by 7 or less points and I knew Arkansas was good so I was expecting a fight and knew if we were going to win it would be close. I could feel the U of A fans near me getting nervous. Then Arkansas’ quarterback started throwing bombs in the second half and I started cringing.

Can we talk about Meshak Williams, the player who got hurt and was put on a stretcher? As they loaded him onto the cart he was giving a thumbs up. As they wheeled him off I expected to see him do that again. When he didn’t I got a really big pit in my stomach. I knew he wasn’t paralyzed, because we could see him moving, but I was afraid he was upset or scared. As they neared the exit he gave the W C hand sign and I swelled with pride. Those of you who don’t like the W C, take notice, the team does it ALL THE TIME. IT IS COOL, GET ON BOARD! And Meshak tweeted the following day that he was doing ok.

When the game ended and the confetti cannons went off I shook my neighbors hand, congratulated him, and tried to get out as fast as possible. Not fast enough to miss their head coach go on and on about how awesome his team is and not mention us once. Not fast enough to miss some guy behind me say, “We’re Kansas State Champs!” This was in reference to several KStaters wearing shirts that say “Texas State Champs” because we beat all 4 Texas teams in our Conference this year. I refrained from asking if they’d beat KU, which you’d have to do to make that statement and instead yelled loudly, “AT LEAST WE HAVE CLASS!” Dude, what do you want from me? He was being a dick and I was taking this loss MUCH harder than anticipated. The walk DOWN was as long (longer) as the walk up and I was depressed. Someone started the K-S-U chant and I yelled as loud as I could. Then I heard, “Woooooo!” GROAN. Shut up. Go back to your seat and watch the trophy presentation.

We boarded a bus and after the worlds longest wait, headed back to the hotel. Final perk of the Alumni Package? Beer and snacks on the ride home. I needed something to try to take the sting off the loss.

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It didn’t help.

When we got back I wanted to see the team. I wanted to stand outside their bus and cheer them on as they came back. Swagger Polo told me they probably beat us back because they had a police escort and this time, we did not. I was sure he was right until twitter confirmed that they were still at the stadium. Around 2am, after some room service, we walked around the hotel. Many of the players were walking around with their families and some were peeling up their numbers/names from the floor and putting them onto the back of posters. Here’s where I wish they wore their jerseys 24-7 cause I don’t know who they are! Dangit! A real fan would recognize them all. Swagger Polo did recognize Nigel Malone. Good work. We saw some with bags and thought they might be leaving that night to head back to Manhattan. Private plane and all.

We went to bed and awoke still a little sad. During our stroll to find some breakfast we saw several more players and then some of them were tweeting about being in Dallas several hours later. So honestly, I have no idea when the team left and no, I never did see Mr. Snyder.

We left Dallas uneventfully again, except for this exchange, as we sat waiting to board our plane.

Guy: “Did you guys have a basketball game or something?
TW: Looking really confused. “Uh…no. We. played. in…the…Cotton Bowl…last night.”

Yeah, I said it that slow because I thought for sure, this was some kind of joke. Who was this guy?

Guy: Giving a look that said something like, WTF? How did I miss that? In fact, he turned to his coworker and asked what the hell they were doing the night before. Dinner. I refrained from saying that the game lasted until after 11pm.“Oh…uh. Sorry, I’ve been out of town.”
TW: Yeah, me too, AT THE FUCKING COTTON BOWL.

Guy: “Did you win?”
TW: Ugh. “No. We lost.”
Guy: “Who did you play?”

Swagger Polo walks up about this time and is as confused as EVERYONE ELSE SITTING NEAR US WONDERING HOW THIS GUY HAS NO CLUE WHAT HAPPENED. 

TW: “Arkansas.”
Guy: Looking EVEN MORE confused. “Really? Huh. They were ranked, right?”
TW: “Yeah. Yeah. Number 6. We were ranked Number 8.”
Guy: “Really? I’m sorry, I have no idea how I missed this.”
THE REST OF THE WORLD: Yeah, we don’t know either!!

This went on, for awhile. He asked what the score was and several other questions until Swagger Polo leaned over to me and said, “I just want to go home, I don’t want to answer any more questions”. To be fair, this was probably the 10th conversation we’d had with a non K-Stater that morning asking either, “Did you win?”* or offering some kind of condolences/wanting to discuss the game. I said that I was happy to continue to do this because I’ll spread the word to anyone who will listen. This guy walked away thinking, KSU finished #8 in the nation, has a TON of fans in Dallas, and also had nice, informed fans. Go State.

As we boarded the flight there were two Arkansas fans behind us on the plane. The flight attendant said, “You know this is a flight going back to Kansas City, right” because it was packed with Wildcats. Everyone laughed. One of the guys said, “Yeah, you can upgrade us if you want” and the other replied, “Yeah, to the winner’s section.” Ooooooh. Dagger. Sad face. It hurt.

When we landed a girl across from me said, “We’re up 44-25 at half?” almost as a question. We all looked at one another wondering how we were beating Mizzou so bad in basketball. They were undefeated and we were coming off that beating by KU. It was a bright spot that I needed after two rough losses.

To recap:

  • The Cats are the best.
  • The Wildcat Nation is unbelievable in its support and representation of our school.
  • DO THE ALUMNI PACKAGE!! You and the old people will have fun and the convenience is TOTALLY worth the up charge.
  • I’m only going to another bowl game if we win. 🙂
  • Go State!

*That guy apologized and said, “I really didn’t know”.

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