My anticipation for the season’s home opener football game against Howard this past Saturday began last Wednesday when we received an email announcing that the ticket lottery had opened. On Thursday and Friday, my friends and I exchanged texts asking each other if we were going and where we were going to meet before or during the game. I carefully selected which of my many red Rutgers shirts I wanted to wear and put out a much needed red lipstick to tie the outfit together. I love going all out because it adds to the fun. Football games celebrate community between friends, classmates, and alumni, and this sport on the banks of the ol’ Raritan unites strangers in the singular fact that we all bleed scarlet.
Saturday was a hot and humid day, but the sweaty conditions did not prevent fans from coming in droves and tailgating before the game. While not packed, High Point Solutions saw a pretty good crowd. I love seeing the sea of scarlet — I can’t help but feel proud of my university. As I stood in the student section, I was immediately energized by other students’ school spirit. Unfortunately, that enthusiasm diminished as it got hotter and we trailed behind Howard at the end of the first quarter. Given our past seasons’ struggles, I was unsure if the Scarlet Knights would pull through and get this win. When we stopped for half-time tied at 14, hope that we could win after all returned. The knights did not disappoint. The last two quarters of the game were filled with Rutgers touchdowns, each of which were met with the roars of fans excited to see their team look strong. The Knights won the game 52-14, an incredible comeback and blowout. Hopefully this opener sets the tone for a successful season and will not be the only win the Rutgers football team sees over the next few months.
Attending college football games as a student is such a unique experience that I urge you to go to at least one if you haven’t already. There’s just something about standing in solidarity with thousands of people in red shirts, while cheering on a group of boys as they run up and down the field, that makes me happy. Football games are loud and energetic and intense (sometimes) and fun. I’m going to enjoy this last season of games as a student and soak in the atmosphere, because I know that it’ll be a different experience next season.
This home opener was a special one for me because it was my last first football game of the season. As a senior, there will be many “lasts”, such as my last first day of classes, my last family weekend, or my last King Neptune Night. The passing of this home opener game is significant because the next time I attend the first Rutgers football game of the season will be when I actually pay for a ticket as an alumna. But until then, you can bet I’ll be cheering my head off and enthusiastically strumming my guitar on third downs, happily from the student section.