[RBR’s Roger Myers was one of the few, the proud to attend the game on Saturday. He is taking the reins of our Sunday morning conversation. ~CB]
What a strange game day experience. Although I am very grateful that we have football at all, and that I am able to attend all the home games, this was unlike anything I have seen in my 50 plus years of Alabama fandom.
First of all, not having a tailgate meant not being on campus at 6 a.m. for set up. Driving onto campus at 11:15 A.M. was a piece of cake. None of the usual bumper to bumper, stop and go traffic. Easing up to our parking area at 11:26 and being told that “the lot doesn’t open up until 11:30” and having to pull out and circle back. Not only is there now online tickets only, parking passes are as well. The staff was as unsure as I was with that, but things ended up going fairly smoothly. It would seem logical that utilizing hang tags that have always been used would have caused less contact and problems. We walked up from the ten Hoor lot past our tailgate spot on Bidgood’s front lawn and felt the emptiness. To see the empty quad with no people or tents was eerie to say the least.
We were able to walk unencumbered to the stadium and it felt like a stroll in a abandoned park. The gates were to open at noon, so we had a few minutes to spare in the front of the stadium. With no vendors or ticket scalpers, the quietness was startling.
When the gates opened we were able to enter very easily after scanning the tickets from my phone. No line, no wait, no holdups. Upon reaching the zone it was practically empty. The staff was extremely friendly and welcoming. The food selections were about a fifth of what they normally have - fitting with a fifth of the crowd, I suppose. Instead of multiple stations of different fare, there was one main serving spot, and they dished all the food up to you.
WALK OF CHAMPIONS
The players arrived and had a Walk Of Champions of sorts, just with no fans lining the sidewalk, and I was able to get the pictures above from the patio of the North Zone.
Masks were to be worn at all times but that was not something that was strictly followed. For the most part, people wore them inside, except while eating or drinking. With the seats separated outside, many either had their masks on their chin, or continued to take their masks on and off throughout the game. Although the temperature never got over 75, the sun was bright with no cloud cover or breeze, so they did get uncomfortable at times. Seats that were not to be used were tied off with bungee cords to keep fans in their assigned seats. My seat turned out to be broken. Eighty thousand empty seats, and the one with my ticket number on it was busted. To the staff’s credit after I reported it the workers removed it and replaced it within about five minutes, so kudos to maintenance.
Only one fourth (96) members of the Million Dollar Band were allowed to play for the game, and they were not allowed on the field. This includes including the Crimsonettes and the Color Guard. The National Anthem was unorthodox to say the least. The 19,400 fans in BDS did their best to provide some noise and atmosphere, but cheering from that few of people rattled around in the stadium. It felt much like a December basketball game in Coleman, or a fall baseball scrimmage at The Joe.
Outside the stadium during pregame, I mentioned to a fellow fan that the atmosphere rivaled an A-Day Game, circa 2000, and that didn’t really change that much as the day went on. It was exciting to be at the game, but man it sure felt different. There was some extremely exciting football plays, and a great win, but something was definitely missing. Given the times, I am thankful that there is football at all, and feel very grateful to be one of the (few) butts in the seats.
Roll Tide, Believe in the process