Today was the Griz-Cat game, also known as the ‘Brawl of the Wild’, or the ‘Great Divide War’. This is an annual college rivalry football game between the University of Montana’s ‘Grizzlies’ and the Montana State University’s ‘Bobcats’. This game is stated to be the most meaningful rivalry in all of college football, and is one of the longest standing in history.
Being from the University of Montana, you have no choice in what team you support. You quickly adopt an aversion to the other team, like most here do from birth. People travel from around the state to witness this great event, and spend LARGE amounts of money to do so – $75 a ticket (but free for students if you get in early). They brave the cold, exhibit their undying love and support through a display of color, and unleash the bragging!
The morning for most begins with ‘tailgating’, which I’ve mentioned in a previous post, is drinking, eating and socializing around the tailgate of your vehicles (you must pay for the privilege). It looks something like this for most enthusiasts, however for some it includes BIG RV’s and the equivalent display of wealth and status.
For the students, it’s a more extravagant tradition coined “Kegs and Eggs”! It’s a pre-party, which involves copious amounts of beer (multiple kegs) and very little (actually none) of the well-known breakfast protein. I heard one guy say “yeah, we haven’t had eggs in a very long time”.
The sounds system was SO loud that you could hear it from over a block away, and the garage even had its own drink-serving window built in for the occasion. So many people arrived that there was actually a line just to get into the yard. It was an American house party like in the movies.
The football was equally impressive and the singing of the national anthem was like a scene out of a drama! Men in military uniforms carried out a massive flag onto the pitch, the crowd was silent as the marching band begun the anthem, hats came off, hands were over hearts, and the singing begun…
Next minute – two F-15 fighter jets flew low over the Washington Grizzly Stadium and drowned out the united patriotic voices (and turned them into rampant screaming and cheering. IT BLEW MY MIND!!!!
(Just on a side note, I learned today that the whole hand-over-heart business (although not required by law) is a variant of a military salute to higher authority. It got changed from the traditional salute during WW2 in fear that it may look like people were saluting Hitler!)
Then the game begun, and with it the rival heckling – starting the minute their team ran onto the pitch. One poor brave bobcats girl found herself in the middle of the Grizzly student section – Very poor choice indeed. The whole section began chanting, “burn the witch”, and a brutal group of grizzly males snarled, “you don’t belong here kitty, go home”! This was coupled with the loudest booing in history when the rivals scored, and the chanting of “bullshit” over numerous refereeing decisions.
Awesome atmosphere today… until we lost! Defeated… until next year! GO GRIZ!!!