If you had told me at the beginning of the semester that I would be driving four hours to see a football game, I wouldn’t have believed you. Much less, that App State would win. I did have my doubts going in since James Madison University has been on a winning streak. That is until that fateful Saturday on Nov.18.
Waking up at 7 a.m. for a sport is not something I saw myself doing, ever. But that’s what I did. I did my makeup and changed into my gameday attire, repping black and gold. After picking up my partner and some breakfast, we hit the road a little after 8 a.m.
The drive there had some lulls where we both got tired and quiet, but overall, the music was blasting and we made our journey through Tennessee and into Virginia.
Getting on JMU’s campus was intimidating since we were in enemy territory. Immediately, we spot a sea of purple as we make our way to the parking garage. Being the only ones in the surrounding area in black and gold made it easy to stand out. Whether that was in a good way or not, remained to be seen.
With the help of a couple, we found the stadium and were instantly met with sports culture: boos and f*ck yous.
Once we got done with pictures and concessions, we found our seats. They were a bit confusing to find with the overwhelming amount of purple and a lack of yellow in sight. When we saw other App State goers, they nodded and said, “Go App State!”
I’ve never been much of a sports girl, much less a football fan. That being said, I’d say I made a good choice in getting tickets despite the odds that our team faced.
We were fortunate enough to have found a spot next to App State fans in the midst of all the purple. They did their opening cheers, fight song, and the national anthem. Soon, the game began.
For a while, not much progress was made until App State made the first touchdown. That was the first step in raising my optimism about the game’s direction. Throughout the game, there were many close calls, confusion, and angry fans. The first half seemed hopeful since we were winning. Even when JMU scored, we were still in the lead. That all changed, however, during the second half.
I will give flowers where they’re due and James Madison knows how to keep the crowd entertained during their breaks. In honor of the Jonas Brothers performing earlier for College Gameday, the school put the iconic march scene from Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam on their screen. Shortly after, the screen showed our very own Yosef with their mascot Duke, doing the march themselves.
They also showed a video filmed after The Bachelor following four cheerleaders trying to win the heart of their mascot, Duke. When the video was over, they panned over to where the cheerleaders were, showing Duke giving out two roses. There were also races with people in food costumes and sing-alongs with the football players on the screen.
When the second half began, things took a turn; JMU was catching up to us. With JMU, every time they get a touchdown their thing is to throw streamers with their school colors. So, in case you missed what was happening, the streamers are a surefire way to make sure you know who got the point.
Soon we were tied and headed into overtime. The only other time I have been stressed out during sports was when my brother got injured during the championship game in high school. This was a close second. Across the field, seats that were open were now filled and the sea of purple was closing in. Nearby App fans were looking doubtful but wanted to be optimistic. JMU fans cheered and made digs at our team.
JMU was up first to try to get touchdowns, making it with the field goal. My stress spiked. I could only imagine what leaving would look like; if we got booed on the way in, I didn’t even want to think about what exiting would look like if we lost.
In a time that was making it or breaking it, we not only made the touchdown, but we also broke JMU’s winning streak. Even then it was slightly up in the air with a replay displayed on the screen. From the stands, JMU fans were yelling and remarking that it didn’t count. From the field, our Mountaineers waved proudly at the Dukes, indicating their win. After a few seconds of waiting for certainty, it was official that Appalachian State had won. I hugged and kissed my partner, looking out into the field in awe.
You know what we say: “Keep digging and roll ‘Neers!”