Rejoice! Football Season Is Here
The end of summer is a big bummer for most people. For students it’s the end of a three-month vacation. For others who work year round, it’s the start of shorter days and less visits to the lake. Yet, there is one glorious bright spot to the end of summer – the start of football season.
Most college football teams kicked off their season last weekend. Fans, most suffering from a lack of pigskin, were glued to their high-definition TV’s last Saturday as their alma mater or favorite team opened the season. ISU fans could not partake in the nationwide rejoice that is the first college football Saturday due to an off-week, but the Redbirds are finally opening the 2014 season this Saturday. The Redbirds will be flying high as they kickoff their season against Mississippi Valley State in front of the #RedbirdNation inside Hancock Stadium.
As ISU fans ready in anticipation for another season under the mustache of head coach Brock Spack, I've put together the top-five things to look forward to now that is football season.
5. The Big Red Marching Machine
The ISU band, “The Big Red Marching Machine,” plays at every home football game. The band adds to the game day experience at Hancock Stadium, from playing the fight song, to ringing the bell after ISU touchdowns and performing popular hits during halftime. The Illinois State band plays an integral part of #RedbirdFootball game days. It doesn’t get much better than walking to the stadium on a cool and sunny October Saturday and hearing the sweet tunes of The Big Red Marching Machine.
4. Tailgating Foods
It always seems like the best meals come during football season. The top of the football-food list is none other than chili. A nice steamy bowl of chili topped with shredded cheese, sour cream and crackers is the perfect football food. Chili is easy to make (have you ever had a bad bowl of chili?), it fills you up and keeps you warm during those cool afternoons. I know it’s not considered a food, but hot chocolate was made for football. During a cold November game, hot chocolate serves as a hand warmer and as a warm, soothing drink for the soul…pretty much anything warm makes for good football food, as long as it can be made on a grill or kept warm in a crock-pot.
3. Fall Weather
Many Illinoisans complain about the brutal Midwestern winters — and rightfully so — but fall in Illinois is a beautiful time of year (even though it seems to only last about one month). The leaves change all sorts of different beautiful colors, adding to the crisp and cool breeze. Not to mention the early sunsets and long nights.
Let me set the stage for a perfect fall Saturday — You throw on your favorite Redbird sweatshirt and walk over to the stadium, kicking golden brown, orange and yellow leaves as you make your trek. You hear the melodies of the band playing from a far over the booming voice of the public address announcer as you near the intersection of Main and Locust. The smell of hamburgers and brats cooking on charcoal grills takes over your sense of smell. Finally, you make it through the gates of Hancock Stadium, find your seat and as the referee blows his whistle, it’s gametime!
Ok, fireworks on the fourth of July is cool and everything, but whats better than fireworks in the fall? Nothing. Fans get a chance to watch some exciting football and once the game is over are treated to a fireworks display. The first fireworks display at Hancock Stadium will be this Saturday to open the season. Don’t forget to save some popcorn for the post-game festivities.
1. Tailgating Experience
I think tailgating was invented just for football. I know that I’m wrong, but that’s what I liked to think. Think about it, football fans are die-hards, and they want as much football as they can get. So the idea of setting up camp in a parking lot or open field and hanging around other Redbird fans all day before the game makes perfect sense. All you need is a grill, of course a football, beverages, great food and great people to have the perfect tailgate. And to top it all of, Redbird fans get seven opportunities to perfect the art of tailgating. this season…enjoy!