Grandpa's Purdue football tickets were ours--he was out of town. Sometimes one or the other of us gets to go with Grandpa, and when he's not able to go, we trade off who gets the tickets. If the tickets end up at our house, it's almost always me and one of the kids. And there are rituals to be observed.
We get up early and eat a little, but not too much. We stop about an hour away from the stadium for breakfast sandwiches to go and turn the radio dial to the pre game show as we head on down the road. We park where Grandpa has parked for years, up the hill from the stadium in a wooded neighborhood. Youngest has the best memory for where we leave the car.
We walk down the hill, going slowly past any tailgate that smells good and always hope that we get to the stadium gates in time to see the band arrive and play the fight song. And beat the world's largest drum.
After the band moves on, we pull out our tickets and move toward our gate. By this time, the music playing from inside the stadium and the growing crowds have us grinning ear to ear and walking more quickly.
When we get into the stadium, we face the climb to our seats--3 rows from the top of Ross Ade Stadium. It's a long climb, but we can see the whole field clearly. That makes it a lot easier to make our own coaching or officiating calls.
We watch the seats fill as we wait for the team to take the field--the train whistle, the flags, Purdue Pete, and our Boiler boys taking the field...awesome way to spend a Saturday. We cheer and groan and chant and sing the fight song.
At the end of the day, we drag ourselves into the house. For us, the drive to and from is longer than the game. But worth it. Completely worth it.
Boiler Up! Hammer Down!