I’ve had the privilege of attending a lot of great sporting events all over the country in iconic venues.
I’ve seen Syracuse hoops in the Carrier Dome, Duke in Cameron Indoor, Phog Allen Fieldhouse, the Big House, Notre Dame Stadium, Tiger Stadium, Clemson’s Memorial, the Coliseum, and so forth.
Amigos y amigas, I’m here to tell you that nothing quite compares to the Rose Bowl.
Six months from this very day, your Fighting Texas Aggies will travel to Pasadena to reciprocate the great home-and-home with UCLA. Start socking away some pennies so you can make this trip. The only things standing between you and this pilgrimage to Football Shangri-La are six months of grueling offseason replete with bros tweeting about soccer, feigned interest in baseball, and all the self-seriousness that comes with the NFL Draft and SEC Media Days.
Oh, and an unrelenting, ferocious Texas summer. When it’s August and you’re waiting to die on a 110 degree I-35 or you’re swimming through a smog sludge of humidity in H-town, you’re going to need a Labor Day getaway to Pasadena.
Allow me to set the scene, if I may.
It’s 79.9 degrees under a blanket of sun that ain’t going anywhere. The air is crisp and you even detect a slight ocean breeze despite being miles and miles away. You’re surrounded by beautiful mountains that appear to be right in your lap as you tailgate. Speaking of tailgating, you’re parked on a golf course having a ball on the fertile soil because that’s what you do at the Rose. You’re high-fiving fellow Ags because there is an exceptionally unique, wonderful camaraderie when you’re on the road.
The Rose Bowl is a throwback. In many ways, you’re in 1950s California - the California that was so attractive to the regular folks with an adventurous spirit. You’re not in 2017 Los Angeles with the trash, graffiti, a trillion humans, and an overall air of vapid apathy that is sneakily depressing. No, you’re in Pasadena where it’s near impossible to be anything other than content and joyful.
The stadium? Well let’s just say it’s the opposite of Jerryworld. In other words, it’s perfect. There’s no 80 yard television to entertain your Xanaxed, botoxed, disinterested Dallasite or his wife. This coliseum is built for sport. Palm trees and mountains peek out over the crest of the highest seats. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a sunset.
Then, for 3+ hours you’ll watch two perpetually-underachieving sleeping giant football programs collide into one another on a piece of lawn that it’d make the greenskeeper at Augusta National envious.
You and I need this trip. Come August, this is going to be our oasis - almost seeming like a mirage. Oh, but it’s real. So save up your greenbacks. Eat at Cheddar’s or whatever other blah suburb fat fare twice less per month. Pocket the cash into the Rose Bowl fund.
This is college football. Beat the hell outta UCLA.