Students experience more than just a victory

Patty Vaughan

Students and alumni gathered inside the old Rose Bowl to watch the team play to victory, and for some, it was the chance of a lifetime.

Whit Morgan, a UA alumnus who majored in biology, said he got to see firsthand what he had been hearing about for years.

“Being in the Rose Bowl and it showing all the old games, it made me think about stories I’ve heard my entire life about the Rose Bowl,” Morgan said. “It was probably my greatest experience as a Bama fan. I’ve been watching Bama my whole life, and I really don’t see anything ever topping that for me.”

Going to Pasadena was much more than seeing an old stadium and watching the team play for many students. In fact, going to Pasadena and Los Angeles was an experience in itself. Anthony Johnson, a senior majoring in journalism said he was very out of his element.

“My family and I stayed in Beverly Hills, so I got to see all the famous streets like Sunset Boulevard, Rodeo Drive and Santa Monica Boulevard. We drove through Hollywood and just took it all in,” Johnson said. “I noticed that everything in California, particularly L.A., was unbelievably expensive. I had an $82 cab ride — it was a 15 minute car ride.”

For others like Jacob Bonander, a senior majoring in telecommunications and film and communication studies, said Hollywood was not as glamorous as he thought it was going to be.

“The beach was what I thought it was because it was warm in the beginning of January,” Bonander said. “Hollywood was not as glamorous as I thought it was even though it was cool to see the stars on the street.”

As for tailgating, it was a mixed experience. Some students said they kept to themselves while others talked with Texas fans.

Frankie Borries, a junior majoring in elementary education, said she kept to mainly Bama fans, but said both teams really got along.

“I tailgated with mostly all Alabama fans, but both Alabama and Texas fans were civil with one another,” Borries said. “I think both sides of fans were happy to be there.”

Travis Carello, a freshman majoring in pre-law studies, got to experience Texas fans, and said he enjoyed them more than other SEC schools.

“Tailgating was pretty fun because we just laid back and had fun,” Carello said. “We were there the entire day. Texas fans didn’t talk much. They generally kept to themselves and weren’t obnoxious like LSU and Tennessee fans.”

What was interesting for some students was seeing residents of California who were Bama fans.

“I was actually surprised at how many people were actually California residents that were big Bama fans,” Morgan said. “We went to two or three different tailgates and there were diehard UA alums. It was cool getting to connect with some of those people.” Some students would taunt Texas fans just for the fun of the game.

“Just walking on Venice Beach or before the game, we just gave a little upside down horns to Texas fans or one liners to get the excitement going,” Bonander said.

A common aspect that seemed to appear to most students was that Alabama was not the only team in Pasadena with a rich tradition. Many students said it was nice to see a team that had just as much spirit as Bama fans do.

“I think both Alabama and Texas fans shared a mutual respect for each other’s school,” Johnson said. “Both Alabama and Texas are such storied programs with rich tradition. No one really said anything negative towards each other.”

“[Texas fans] have a lot of tradition and pride and they’re a lot like us,” Morgan said.

“They were pretty confident that they were going to win the game, and we’re not used to that.”

For most students, it was a great way to end the season. It was an even better ending for some for those who graduated and this was their last Alabama game.

“As a senior, to cap off with that was the best game I could possible imagine,” Bonander said. “It was just a great way to end a season.”