When I applied to Tulane last Fall, my tour guide stated that “we are not a football school” and that she had never been to a football game in her four years at Tulane. Back then, the possibility of having “game days” was never on my radar. But against all odds, Tulane harnessed the underdog spirit of New Orleans and did just that. Tulane pulled off the unexpected, shocking the football world by beating USC in the Cotton Bowl Game last year.
A little over a month into my time at Tulane, I have already attended three Tulane game days, and I can confidently say I proudly attend a football school. Our team game day experience differs from the classic Big 10 and PAC 12 games. There aren’t big TV sets of reporters, but instead, an intimate culture of students and alumni ecstatic to now be part of what it means to be a “football school.” The energy in the painfully-hot fall air is unmatchable, and it is evident that the Tulane community has accepted the challenge of being a football school and has welcomed the high spirits with open arms.
Despite just being newly dubbed a “football school,” Tulane students already have a roadmap to our quintessential game days. We are awoken by the hustle and bustle outside their dorm windows of alumni and parents up and ready to rally, their spirits much more upbeat than the student body who went to bed with the morning sun. However, Tulane students do what they do best no matter the consequences: we rise and rally.
Bright and early, campus floods with students slumping to make their run to PJ’s or to cure hangxiety at the Commons. Caffeinated, full, and game day outfits on, students follow the masses to the classic “game day” pictures outside every possible dorm. Students then follow the pipeline from pictures and pre-games to The Boot, where we sit, sweat, and socialize, for hours… and hours. After sipping pitchers in the humid heat, it is time to “darty hop” between fraternities along Broadway Street. A few hours of sweating, dancing, or launching down a fraternity waterslide go by and before you know it, game time approaches! Students flood the Commons for a random assortment of last-minute cravings, or a few stragglers wander back to The Boot, where they will quickly realize that the game started 30 minutes ago. Then comes the rush to Yulman Stadium, eager to enter the game. Yes, Tulane students now rush to Yulman Stadium.
As the game begins and students scorch waiting for kick-off, getting sunburns in the patterns of wave tattoos, green-and-white striped overalls, and strappy bikini tops, students remain unbothered and continue cheering Helluva Hullabaloo and “ROLL WAVE” that increase with appearances of riptide and the dance team, with the band tooting out New Orleans jazz as background music. As triumphant games end, students witness the previously rare post-win high. Tulane students chant and dance along as the final seconds dwindle to the buzzer.
Post-game lows come flooding in as The Boot pitcher headaches settle in. However, students are deliciously comforted by that stadium’s new Dat Dogs or Reginellis, or by their impulsively DoorDashed Canes as they prepare to rot in their beds and debrief the day’s chaos- morning now seeming like weeks ago. The game sucked the life out of us, but students return home with the slight hope that they will be ready to hit Bourbon or The Boot once again as nighttime falls. However, for the unlucky few, when they wake up again, it is officially Sunday morning. Now that game day has officially ended, students’ expectations for next week’s game day motivate us through the week.
Gamedays never fail to delight here in Uptown NOLA, so own the “football school” title, and show up and show out for your team! Every day is good for being a Tulanian, but especially on a successful game day.