While we lost on the gridiron, we won in the gold lot

Tailgating at WVU vs. TCU gameNot even the chilly temperatures and rain could dampen the excitement and school spirit of Mountaineer Nation last weekend.

Leading up to the big game between West Virginia and TCU, the students had built a playful phenomenon around Tent City in anticipation of College GameDay.

Dave and I were excited to get to Morgantown early last Friday to partake in the festivities with our friends and family.

Tent City

Students camped out at Tent City

ESPN had selected country music star and West Virginia native Brad Paisley as College GameDay’s guest picker of the week. I dubbed Steve Besendorfer as Mountaineer Fan of the week.

For the second time in a 2-week period, he flew nearly 2,100 miles from sunny Phoenix, AZ, to hilly Morgantown, WV, to tailgate and watch WVU football.

Dave and Steve

Dave and Steve

After spending Friday night at Mario’s Fishbowl and the Sports Page, we got a bright and early start to our tailgate Saturday morning. It was a little sad because it was the last one we’ll host this season. We won’t have time to set up a tailgate in the gold lot for the last home game since it will be on a Thursday evening. Instead, we’ll have to rely on the generosity and hospitality of our blue lot friends for the WVU vs. Kansas State game.

Winning tailgate

Tailgating for the WVU vs. TCU gameAlthough the sky over Morgantown resembled lumpy clouds of coal dust, under our canopy tents, it was as bright and cheerful as the most spectacular New Year’s Eve bash. We even had a heater in one of our tents to take the chill off. And although our plucky little heater had a fight on its hands, it battled on throughout the day and made tailgating a little more comfortable.

My brother-in-law, Rick, also helped Dave out with the food. While Dave prepared my personal favorite – grilled filet and veggie steak kabobs – Rick grilled up some delicious ribs.

Dave preparing the filet shish kabobs

ribs-on-grill

And since the kickoff wasn’t until 3:30 p.m., we had plenty of time to tailgate. The guys even played some football in the lawn behind Lincoln Hall.

Dave throwing the football

After College GameDay ended, some students showed up at our tailgate. We made sure we fed them, and then we all belted out “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and “Piano Man” together, swaying in a synchronous fluidity that warmed the cockles of my heart. It makes me proud that the tradition of these songs –  and a few others, like “You Don’t Even Call Me By My Name” – are still being ingrained in this younger generation.

students-at-tailgate2

My sister, Missy, a student, and Willy

My sister, Missy, a student, and Willy

After we tore down our tailgate, we headed to Mountaineer Field. And as we did, a rolling tide of “Let’s go Mountaineers” chants spread across the crowd of fans pinballing their way into the stadium.

I ran into a long lost acquaintance from Spencer, WV, as I entered the stadium

I ran into a long lost acquaintance from Spencer, WV, as I entered the stadium

Unfortunately, all of our cheering and yelling couldn’t give the Mountaineers the boost they needed to beat the Horned Frogs. We suffered a heartbreaking loss in the final 4 seconds of the game, 31-30.

WVU vs. Texas

Now we’re heading to Austin for the matchup against the Longhorns. Steve and his wife, Jill, as well as a few other college friends will also be making the trip.

We hope that when we travel home Sunday that we’ll see a headline like the one we saw the last time we went to Austin for a Mountaineer game. Let’s gooooo Mountaineers!

Dave holding paper after WVU beat Texas

Special shout outs

tailgate-with-satelliteThanks to Josh Funk and his friends for letting us watch some of College GameDay in the gold lot from their satellite TV.

I also want to give a special shout out to the nice gentleman from Auto Service Mall in Wexford, Pa., for saving our weekend.

A cotter pin punctured my passenger-side back tire on our drive to Morgantown.

As soon as I noticed the car swaying along the highway, I got off the closest exit. (It’s a good thing, too, because my tire was almost completely flat.) When Dave tried to fill the tire with air, it came hissing out almost as fast as he pumped it in.

Luckily, we made it a couple miles down the road where a mechanic was able to remove the cotter pin, plug the hole and pump up the tire within about 10 minutes – without taking the tire off the rim.

Whew! That could’ve made me for a frustrating – and costly – few hours.

 

 

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