As someone who went to a small, division 3 university in the middle of nowhere (hey, it was great, but let’s be honest!), I was never quite inundated into the world of big-time college sports. Sure, I enjoy sports a lot (both playing and watching – I’ll never turn down an opportunity to go play something, and I probably won’t turn off a game that’s on tv), but I just wasn’t in an environment that had that sort of atmosphere.
So while I watched and followed sports (both pro and collegiate) and played (yes, I can say that I was a NCAA collegiate athlete – as well as an intramural champion), it was never MY school or MY team that was being broadcast on tv or bringing in thousands of wild fans from campus and rival schools.
That being said, there is one game that mattered at DePauw – Monon. The Monon Bell game is the annual game between DePauw (the good guys) and Wabash (the other guys) that has been played since 1890 (according to wikipedia at least) and is one of the oldest rivalries in college sport.
Monon weekend is a weekend filled with the kinds of ridiculous things that college kids love: Parties. Drinking. Loud music. Taunting the other team. Excuses to daydrink. Tailgating. Friends coming to visit. A midnight pancake breakfast. Football. An excuse to get away with whatever you want, because, hey, it’s Monon. In fact, I still love all of those things.
But this year marks the first year that I will not be heading back to the campus of DePauw or Wabash to watch the big game and partake in the festivities (that breaks a 7 year streak – not bad if I say so myself). This is the year that I do the “responsible, young working adult thing for those who have jobs and can’t actually make it back to tailgate and party for a college game that no one else has ever heard of.”
This year, I go to a telecast party.
What is that you ask? Well, they happen all over the country, where grads from both schools arrange to have the game broadcast (let’s be honest – this one’s not on network tv) at a particular bar. They then proceed to drink and get raucous in a manner that’s probably ridiculous to them, but probably laughable to those who are actually at the game tailgating.
This is my destination. I’m about to be a first-timer at a telecast party.
To clear things up – this is not because I’m the “responsible, young working adult thing for those who have jobs and can’t actually make it back to tailgate and party for a college game that no one else has ever heard of.” It’s not even because I’m inconveniently located far away from the site of the game (it’s actually a closer drive to the game than to the telecast party).
I’m a grad student/instructor which means that I have very few formal obligations that I can ever say really tie me down to one place for a period of time. Sure, I have plenty of work that needs done, and that I could be doing, and that I probably should be doing. But there’s almost never a real reason that keeps me from going off to wherever for a weekend (ok – maybe money). I can always put off a reading until the next day. Or even the stack of 70 book reviews that I’m supposed to grade this weekend can wait (why did I assign those again?!?). Oh, and what’s that about a future research agenda….well – that’s in the future (key word there).
But apparently, other people have real jobs and responsibilites these days. And for that, I am heading an extra half hour out of my way to celebrate with people my age and not have to worry about finding a couch in a fraternity to crash on late at night.
Cheers to a responsible, or perhaps, more appropriate Monon.