When the buses arrived in Nachadoges you could see the smoke in the air. The town that many Sam Houston students call “Nacanowhere” was coming to life for a game against an arch rival.
The beauty of a rivalry game is it doesn’t matter who is better that year, or how many people are hurt, teams get up for these games because the fans make them get up for it.
The smoke that could be seen so clearly through the sky was the beginning of the tail gating. Stephen F. Austin was getting ready for the game.
But the sight of this all really left me wondering, why are we the fans moving our rivalry to Reliant Stadium?
Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that the Battle of the Piney Woods is getting bigger. So big that it is getting enough recognition to move to a major market, but while we gain Reliant Stadium we lose that home feeling.
When I went in search of an orange tent to get my pre game food I noticed the SFA fans adorned in purple and white. Wearing shirts like, “friends don’t let friends go to SHSU,” and a decorated car painted in orange that read, “Beat the hell out of Sam Houston.”
This bring an interesting question, what are we going to do when we get to Houston? Reliant Stadium isn’t going to allow cars beat with sledgehammers, or large floats that read “axe the kats.” From a fans stand point I don’t know whether to like this or not.
Does this rivalry lose something by going to a neutral site? Sure the Red River Shootout is held in Dallas, but just imagine if it was a home and home series?
So I guess what I am really wondering is how will it change? Will Reliant allow the fans to take seven parking spots for tailgating? Will they let us host a Bud Light tent in the middle of the parking lot for students to get free beer?
I have been to three homecoming games this season, at Sam Houston, Southeastern Louisiana and Stephen F. Austin. Each of them have shown me something we couldn’t get at a bigger, more structured stadium.
At Southeastern they had a dancing crew in the parking lot, at Sam Houston we had parents with deep fryers and at Stephen F. Austin they had the car. But I don’t see any of that ending up in a parking lot that is managed by security guards and actually makes you pay for additional parking spots for tailgating events.
While the idea of the neutral site is with good intentions; bringing more alumni, and promoting the rivalry the drawbacks could hurt the spirit of college football.
There is something you get with college football and no nostalgia of Reliant Stadium could ever match that.