Saturday was a blast!
Since Sean is a University of Central Florida grad (as well as Marissa and her sibs), we have all been following the UCF football’s team success in achieving two successive undefeated seasons. As last weekend’s conference championship neared, he snagged tickets for all of us to the big game!
We met at their place and after a provision stop at Publix, we headed out to UCF. I hadn’t been there since graduation, and I’m always impressed by the size of the enormous campus. I think the student enrollment is up to 65,000 plus now and continuing to grow.
We arrived early enough to find a parking space at one of the surface parking lots and proceeded to tailgate. Normally the campus has a “no open alcoholic container” rule, but that rule is waived for game day. So we were able to tailgate with the adult beverages of our choice. And thanks to our grocery stop, we were quite amply supplied!
After relaxing, noshing, and imbibing for a while, we wandered toward the stadium, through the student union and other active tailgate areas. Sean had signed us up for the alumni tailgate zone and we stopped in – but it was sort of lame. No freebies, not much excitement. So we meandered on to the stadium and perused the vendor booths. We scored some Chick-Fil-A gift cards and picked up free leis.
Side note: for those who have not been following UCF, their star quarterback was injured during the previous game. His knee was blown out so severely, it may be a career-ending injury. As he is from Hawaii, the leis showed our support for the injured player. The substitute quarterback is a freshman, who had only started in two games. Would he be up to the challenge – could the team extend their undefeated streak? Only time would tell.
Nearing game time, we headed to our seats. 45,000 vocal UCF supporters, along with a few hundred outnumbered, blue-clad Memphis fans, filled the sold-out stadium. We were in the upper tier around the 30 yard line, offering perfect viewing of the entire field.
The game started off a bit rough, with Memphis scoring a couple of times right off the bat. The UCF knights made several turnovers. They exited the first half down 38 to 21. Things looked bad for our heroes. But the knights came out after half time and dominated! They made touchdown after touchdown! The energy in the stadium was incredible – it was so loud, I couldn’t even hear myself yelling. Everyone was on their feet in excitement. Memphis fought back valiantly, but at the end, UCF won 41-56! What a fantastic game. And UCF goes undefeated for two straight seasons!
Like most of the fans, we stayed after the game to watch the award ceremony and presentation of the conference championship trophy. Eventually, we filed out as 45,000 people worked their way back to their cars and off campus. It took a while! And then, we went out for sushi.
What a great day!