There’s more to the term “game day” than the calendar date. Buffs fans across the country brought out the black and gold to welcome the 2014 football season at Sports Authority Field Friday night.
Whether your school spirit shows on the field, in the stands or through a CU diploma, pre-game activities and tailgating are surefire ways to put Colorado pride on display.
3:35 p.m., 12th Street and College Ave, Boulder
Students on The Hill donned Buffs merchandise early in the day. With afternoon traffic to Denver in mind, pre-game get togethers were scattered along 12th street hours before kickoff.
3:45 p.m., 13th St. and Pleasant St., Boulder
Events akin to the Rocky Mountain Showdown provide local businesses with a night of heavy traffic. The Sink restaurant on The Hill, for example, has traditionally been a popular place to watch the game. Despite the fast-paced night, the waiting staff always enjoys the excitement and playful animosity toward Colorado State.
Of course, not all students watch the game or participate in athletic culture at CU. Other local businesses, like the Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Cafe next door to The Sink, do not attract large crowds on game nights.
With a recorded attendance of 63,363 at Sports Authority Field, there was little surprise when the drive down US-36 and Federal Boulevard seemed more like a horse-and-carriage journey. Two hours of bumper-to-bumper anticipation brought us to a sea of green, black and gold outside the stadium, visible from the media parking lot.
6:15 p.m., Sports Authority Field, “Ram Country”
To my surprise, our Colorado logos attracted limited attention as we walked through the Rams fans’ parking lot. After braving a few drunken hecklers and many passing glances, a CSU alum allowed us to break the ice.
6:30 p.m., Sports Authority Field, “Buff Zone”
Little changed but the surrounding colors when we walked over to the Colorado tailgating areas. The Herd, an alumni organization, ran an event complete with seating, food and merchandise close to the student section entrance. With less than half an hour to go before kickoff, the tailgates were winding down as excitement built.
7 p.m., Sports Authority Field, 50-yard-line
Iconic tradition peaked just before kickoff Friday, when the Colorado mascot, Ralphie, charged around the field to welcome players, fans and alumni alike. Being a Ralphie Runner is arguably one of the most exclusive jobs within Colorado Athletics. Only adrenaline junkies and buffalo whisperers need apply.
Whether you made the trip to Denver, tuned in to Fox Sports 1, listened to the radio or simply went about your Friday as usual, Colorado pride was tangible all over the state and the country. Pre-game activities are a part of football culture, and as with every event, the Buffs added their signature spice to the day.
Contact CU Independent Sports Editor Jordyn Siemens at firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact CU Independent Photojournalist James Bradbury at james.bradbury.colorado.edu.