It was truly a Prime Spot in Pasadena, California as Mr, Prime Nole himself made an appearance! While not exactly the big gathering like often times happens when the members of The Territory get together, if 2 or more are gathered together, a Prime Spot there will be.
Although I know everyone else’s story was different, i arrived in Las Vegas late Sunday morning after a, thankfully, uneventful travel situation out from Atlanta. I know a lot of people weren’t so lucky. I picked up my dad and brother, who had arrived in Vegas the night before and we made a trek to the Hoover Dam. Just a short drive over there to take in the wonderment. While we didn’t have time for any of the tours, we were able to take in the amazing sights. It was especially cool for my high school history teaching brother, who taped a bit for his class giving an historical overview of the Hoover Dam with the massive concrete structure in the background. After that short, but memorable experience, we headed south and then west through the Mojave Desert in some extremely remote terrain that seemed to stretch for ever.
Shortly after arriving in the Los Angelas area, we met up with Big Chunk, whom we made dinner plans with. In Old Town Pasadena we ate at what turned out to be an amazing Greek/Mediterranean restaurant called Cafe Santorini. A couple hours of good company and good food was enjoyed by all. From there, my dad, brother, and I made a late night stop at the Rose Bowl to do a quick drive around and see the grand stadium prepared for the next days festivities and also to get our bearings for the following day.
A quick stop at an Official Merchandise tent to pick up some ticket lanyards and other merchandise and we were headed to the hotel. I lade my head down, finally, after a 23 hour day of travel.
The next morning we met up with Chunk and rode together to park at the Rose Bowl, a very well organized and good experience. We were the last car allowed in Lot 2 which gave us a prime (pun intended) spot near the exit and next to the walkway leading to the stadium. From there, the bat signal was sent out regarding our location to DOCFSU85, Mr. Peanut, hole_in_tx, and Prime Nole. Chunk, my brother (nicknole), dad (LilburnNoleDadFSU73), and I headed around the stadium to check out the fan experience stuff. There was some cool stuff like taking a picture with the BCS Trophy and getting autographs of Charlie Ward and Chris Weinke at the Nissan Heisman House, but all of those free things had long lines that we weren’t interested in. I was able to snap a pic of the crystal ball and even get my a picture holding it.
The whole idea for us was just to people watch and get a general idea of the experience. After looping the stadium and getting the obligatory Rose Bowl picture,
we headed back to car to meet up with DOCFSU85 who was the first to arrive. Not long after that, nole_in_tx found his way to the meager tailgate and was followed up by Mr. Peanut shortly after that. Prime Nole, who had walked all the way from Old Town Pasadena on an ankle that just came out of a boot a few days before, joined us a little while later.
Lastly, Kenny found his way over to us as well. Add so there you have it, this rag tag bunch of misfits were feasting on fried chicken, chips and salsa, peanuts, cookies, and various and sundry adult beverages. It was a very nice environment, but one that was dominated by Auburn fans around us, particularly with the official Auburn tailgate being just a hundred yards or so from our location.
After a few hours enjoying the company of The Territory members, it was time to head into the game. At an event like the Rose Bowl, we wanted to get into the stadium very early to enjoy the pre game and the pomp and circumstance leading up to the big moment. I overheard someone saying on the walk into the stadium that ESPN had estimated the crowd split at 70/30 in favor of the Tigers. It was easy to believe as we made our way around the stadium through the Auburn section to our area of “general population” tickets. I gotta admit, when we were first in the stadium, it seemed every bit the 70/30 split or greater. I’m not sure if that was because the Auburn orange stood out more, our vantage point, or the Noles arriving later. However, was the game was underway it seemed a bit more equitable. My guess, based on seeing the remaining garnet and gold clad fans hanging around for the celebration is that the stadium was probably closer to 60/40 with a good showing from the Nole faithful
As for the game itself, I’m not sure what else to say that you haven’t already read or said yourself. It was a very disappointing start for the Noles and your truly was certainly having his confidence shaken as thoughts of not only a loss, but a blowout loss started to creep into his head. The rest, as they say, is history as the Noles battled back and created a game for the ages that was truly a joy and blessing to experience in person. The ensuing celebration was amazing. Speaking personally, I’m not ashamed to admit I had a difficult time and was unsuccessful in holding back the tears. Living in Birmingham, Alabama amongst the Auburn and Alabama fans in the heart of SEC country, this victory was almost as much a relief as anything else.
After hanging around in the stadium for the celebration and trophy presentation, we made our way around the stadium to head back to the car. Almost immediately I spotted a familiar face (thanks Facebook) that I had never met in the one-and-only Mr. Osceola. A quick introduction and well wishes, and we were on our way where we then ran into a directionally challenged Big Chunk who was headed the wrong way to the car. We bought our score placards, that I hadn’t seen done in a while, but was very happy to find, and made our way through the crowd. Wafting through the air was the smell of sausages, peppers and onions as spread throughout the walkways towards the lots were dozens of venders selling after game dinner treats. While we didn’t partake, I can honestly say it was some amazing smelling stuff. Upon arrival back at the car, Mr. Peanut was there, victory cigar lit. We enjoyed a few minutes having a celebratory beverage and taking in the moment. Then it was on our separate ways with the knowledge that we root for the 2013 National Champions!!
I made the dumb decision to book a flight out of Vegas at eight o’clock in the morning the following day, so I drove until 3 am before crashing into the bed for 3 hours of sleep before getting going again to make my flight. I’m 32,000 feet above the air right now enjoying the modern conveniences of flight. I’ll close with this thought. The Rose Bowl does it right. Everything that I saw or experienced was first class and well organized. The scenery is just as picturesque as you’ve imaged in your mind or seen on television. Truly a once in a lifetime type of bucket-list thing that I’m so thankful I experienced. Well, one more last thing…
FLORIDA STATE UNIVERSITY
2013 NATIONAL CHAMPIONS