I've been to Tallahassee several times before but this time, I had a FSU grad who could show me the campus. In past trips, I remember Tallahassee being an ugly, barren town with no trees and all cement. This time, it was much different. We got to campus later than I typically would, but early for people who aren't crazy like me, and went shopping! Every time I visit a school, I get a souvenir t shirt - this time was no different. We parked in the parking garage which had a bookstore attached to it. Of course, there were the typical comments, but for the most part, it was nice. The t shirts were expensive so we decided to go to another store.
As we were walking through campus, I noticed lots of oak trees with spanish moss. So pretty, and it reminds me of the low country. I didn't remember that from last time, how weird.
The campus had that Panhandle feel, sprinklings of old south mixed into a warm climate (although... it was 50 degrees, so not so warm). I got a t shirt, took a pic of me kicking the FSU blow up doll in the nuts, and moved on to the stadium.
Now for my favorite part, opening ceremonies. I make it sound like it's some major event, but the beginning of a college football game sets the atmosphere for the game. There is a big difference between watching FSU vs Clemson and watching Duke vs UNC. Both FSU and Clemson have a strong football tradition and they have some pretty cool things that make each game an experience.
FSU's band marches onto the field and you are impressed by the sheer size of it. Chief Osceola enters at the opposing end, spear lit on fire and riding a white horse. The band plays their typical introductory songs, the Star Spangled Banner, blah blah and the crowd sings the fight song. After the two teams enter onto the field, the Chief rides his horse over the field, circles back to the center and stabs his spear into the ground. It's exciting and unique. The more interesting piece of the story is that FSU works very closely with the Seminole tribe on the mascot's garb and presentation. They also offer scholarships to members of the Seminole nation. This is more than just an Atlanta Brave or Washington Redskin "let's make our mascot an indian" kind of thing, they are truly honoring a tribe that is present in this area of Florida. The last thing that I think is so cool is the war chant. The braves do something similar but it's no where near as interesting because what makes this so cool is the way the band plays, specifically, with the drumline. Live and in person, it's intimidating. They play a few verses of the war chant and then the crowd ends it by continuing the chant a capella. FSU has one of the most unique and interesting football tradition out of any other team in the nation. ( I am not saying the most - one of the most - Brian)
I would love to have been part of the crowd back in the 90's, each game means something, each game is one step closer to the national title, I bet the atmosphere was electric. Maybe that opportunity will happen once again, who knows.