Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dressed-Up Debauchery

We live in a college town in the so-called Bible Belt. I've even heard someone say that we live in the 'buckle of the Bible Belt.' The university here is ranked -- by the Princeton Review -- as the number three party school in the nation. Hooray for us, right?

The university is entrenched in tradition. And I mean, stuff going back over one hundred years. I don't know how far this one tradition goes back, but on game days (and of course I mean football) a huge middle area of campus called The Grove is covered by tents. Until you see it, you can't really imagine how filled one area can be by these tents. It is a sight to behold.

I won't go into all the tent setting-up, although that is a very huge deal...there are families who have set up their tent in the same exact spot of The Grove for decades. You see every age here, from newborns to eighty-year-olds, enjoying the tailgating scene (okay, not so much the newborns, they're basically unaware). The tents mostly all look the same on the outside, although some might be a particularly different color than the standard white, or have the team logo on the sides. What you see under the tent can be very different though.

Our campus ministry's tent -- we met for breakfast there this morning -- is modest and had a modest spread of breakfast food. But it's hard to ignore all the tents surrounding you...I've heard of but not yet seen chandeliers hanging from tent ceilings while waiters are serving catered food. This morning there were piles and piles of different kinds of foods all around us on all different kinds of fancy dishes. One tent near us had a hired three-piece band playing! Now that was fun.

And the dressing up...oh my. Now, whoever feels the need to do this, that is totally fine if they want to put themselves through it. I am basically a jeans-and-t-shirt girl. But the college girls here will dress to the nines -- we're talking strapless, flowing, beautiful dresses and heels (heels to a football game?). And yes, they even did it this morning in 50-degree weather. With no jackets. YIKES.

Here's where the 'debauchery' part of my post comes in. And maybe I'm going a little far using that word, but it worked so well with the 'dressed-up' part I couldn't resist. Also, before I get some comment about my judgmental ways, let me say that if you are of drinking age and choose to go out and get drunk -- totally your choice. I'm just sharing my observations here, okay? Okay.

So in the middle of all this craziness and noise and tailgating, it's hard to ignore -- especially if no one in your tent is partaking -- the sheer amount of alcohol that is flowing so freely all around. And we're not talking about nighttime, or even afternoon. We're talking morning. Breakfast. Crowds and crowds of people getting comfortable and settled to drink all day long. Because, hey, that's what you do on game day, right? But to me, it's all just a shiny coating on an excuse to get hammered for a day with everyone else. And if you think I am exaggerating, you really do have to see it for yourself.

One of our students went back to his dorm room to change into warmer clothes and found his roommate lying on the floor with another guy, the two of them passing a bottle of vodka back and forth. Fun times. Casey and I took Miles to the bathroom and all I can say is that the women's bathroom reeked of perfume and alcohol. I can guarantee you I saw many, many people who were nearing drunkenness before we left (because, really, would that guy normally dance like that to 'Super Freak' in public?), which was before noon.

Though I sound very negative about this, I know that it's going to happen whether I like any of it or not. I'm not out to change it, nor could I. All I'm doing is sharing my observation of the morning. I can see that many people are there to enjoy being with family and friends, eat good food, watch a football game. But I also see that some of the most dressed-up folks out there are there for one reason and one reason only, and it just doesn't seem like it can compare to the fun that others are having.


Shellie said...

Happy Birthday! I hope this year is the best one yet.

tracey said...

Thanks Shell! : )

jmberrygirl said...

Oh, boy do I know what you mean. Would take TONS of convincing to get me to dress up for a football game.

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