This morning, I didn’t feel hungover at all. We drank a bottle of champagne together, had drinks at dinner, wine before dinner, and a can of rose spiked sparkling water. I felt ready to go for the game day! We got showered and went down to breakfast. The front desk attendant escorted us to the dining room. I immediately was in another time.
The table looked so beautiful. We took a seat in the back at the small two seat table. We got to talking with the hostess, and she poured us some coffee, while we waited for our breakfast.
Our table even had a little bell on it, if we needed anything we could just ring the bell. I thought oh my God no way! I have always wanted a bell. For breakfast, I had waffles with bacon and Drew had pancakes with sausage. I didn’t want to leave. I wish I could live here.
After breakfast, we took an Uber down to where some of the pregame stuff was happening. It was still a bit too early for anything, but it was cool to go and experience it.
When we arrived at the park where the pregame stuff was happening, we saw ESPN radio doing a broadcast. It was cool to see and to be a part of. it was still too early to do anything game related. We explored the area a little more and decided to walk back to our bed and breakfast. It was cool to see and to be a part of. it was still too early to do anything game related.
We explored the area a little more and decided to walk back to our bed and breakfast. On our way back, we were crossing the street and some people approached us and said, “Hail to Pitt.” We said, “Hail to Pitt.” It was a father and son. He said, where do you guys get your umbrellas?” Drew told him about the 7//11 on the corner that is we got ours. He said, oh cool. He asked if we’re going to the Pitt tailgate before the game. Drew said We weren’t. we didn’t get tickets in time, but it would be cool to go. He said, “I might be able to get you in. we are on the way to meet my wife at the French Quarter restaurant. Why don’t you guys come to have a drink? and we can plan to meet up later. Drew looked at me to make sure I was cool with it. I nodded and said, “okay, we will go for a drink.” I thought why not.
When we got to the French Quarter restaurant, we met his wife and sat at the table with them. They had a special and Mimosas were like $3.50, so that is what I got. The guy’s wife asked me what I got and I said, “a mimosa” and smiled. We introduced ourselves and exchanged contact information for later. The guy said how he is an alumnus of Pitt and knows all the people in athletics and the chancellor and etc. The names he was dropping I didn’t know of, but when it was my turn to drop names he didn’t recognize them. Drew told him how we both work at Pitt and he laughed and said, “Oh like in the book store? or ticket sales?” He was trying to be funny, but I found him rude. I didn’t really like him from the start. Drew said, “no I am in a branch of IT called CSSD.” I said, “and I am the academic coordinator. I build the class schedule for the sociology department and I am in grad school at Pitt, as well.” he said, “oh okay.” He didn’t have too much to say. I think he might have embarrassed himself. I went along with it because it could mean that we could get into the Pitt tailgate.
After we finished our drink, we exchanged contact information for later and then went back to bed and breakfast. I had to change into my rain boots. We went back to the French Quarter restaurant around 3:00pm. We wanted to grab an appetizer before we went to the Tailgate (assuming were going to be able to get into the Tailgate).
Around 4:30pm, we the man, his wife, and son on the street with some other couples they knew outside the restaurant and we all walked to where Pitt was having their tailgate. I had an awkward feeling, but I didn’t share it with Drew. I just hoped it would all work out for the best. We got in line and people from alumni hall and the office of special events were checking people into the event. I recognized the staff from the special events office, and I knew who they were, but I may have to tell them I am someone else so I can get in if this guy was going to give us other people’s names to use.
After he checked everyone in that was with him, there wasn’t a way we could get in. He said, “sorry guys” and walked away. I looked at Drew and I said, “I knew it. I knew that guy was full of it.” We got out of line and I tried to call my friend in Athletics. He said, he was at a team dinner but would text his contact when he told me her name. I thought we have a chance now at getting in. I knew exactly who she was. He told us we should go to graham’s pour house. There were Pitt people there we could party with until we heard back.
When we arrived at Graham’s Pour House, I have never seen so many people in one bar in Blue and Gold in my life. There was a closed in patio section on the roof. They were letting people up as people came downstairs and left. They were almost at full capacity. My contact in Athletics told us to go back at 5:30pm and see if we could get in. We passed the time away and drank and sang the Pitt version of Neil Diamond’s song “Sweet Caroline.” Everyone was so pumped. We flirted with the idea of just staying there and not going to the tailgate, but I was determined to get us into the tailgate and show that guy how ridiculous he was.
At 5:30pm, I approached the Pitt alumni tailgate. I told them that so and so (I am not saying names) said we should come back at 5:30pm and see if we can get in. She said, “Yes, you can! Did you pay online or are you going to pay here.” Drew was so happy. I said, “We are going to pay here.” They handed us our lanyards and we were in!
We walked in and immediately took this picture of us with our lanyards. We did it! We were in the tailgate! We walked right past the guy and his wife. The guy said, “They got in.” I smiled my fake smile said, “Yea, have a good time.” We walked over to where the food was and they had a tailgate food buffet style. They had little bags of chips that you could just take and go, they had cookies that you could just take and go. They had a couple stations set up for wine and beer. I had two glasses of Pinot Grigio.
After we ate, we heard someone making a speech. We went over to where the podium was set up and we saw Heather Lyke and Chancellor Gallagher alongside the podium waiting to introduce. Heather Lyke was first. She talked about the spirit and Pitt Panthers and Hail to Pitt. We got a selfie with her afterward. It was too cool. Then the
Chancellor made his speech and he said, “There is something in the air tonight.” We were all hoping for a Pitt win. I got another picture with the Chancellor after he made his speech. The best part is he remembered me from our last conversation. He opened his arms out for a hug and then we took a selfie with him.
After this picture, I texted Nancy and said, another one for my Pitt board in my office! I am so glad I was able to make this happen for Drew and for us. I am so happy and proud of all that I accomplished so far. Hail to Pitt!
After the tailgate was over, we made our way to the stadium. It was pouring down rain. I was so sick of the rain at this point. When we entered the stadium, we found our seats. We were pretty much the only Pitt fans. This was clearly the Clemson side of the stadium.
When the game started, Clemson was the first to score. It was going to be a long night for Pitt. I texted my friend in Athletics who was on the field. He and I shared text messages throughout the game. We only stayed until the half time when we left. Pitt was losing, it was rainy and cold. It was a good experience and cool to be a part of.
Once we got back to the bed and breakfast, we got showered and laid our clothes out to dry. We got packed up except for things that we would need in the morning. We had to be out of there at 4am.