Last week, the GW Men’s Basketball team started their 100th season with a game against Radford at the Charles E. Smith Center. It was an opportunity once again to have a taste of American sports and culture. I began my evening with free food and drinks at the tailgate party where the entire 22nd St outside the Charles E. Smith Center was closed off.
Tailgating is a social event that originated from the United States where there will be consumption of alcoholic beverages and grilled food on and around the open “tailgate” of a vehicle. This social event, which can be organized without any vehicles with tailgates, may occur before a sports event – football, basketball, baseball, hockey and soccer – and may also be held during weddings and barbecues.
The tailgate pre-game that night started in the late afternoon, and assuming there will be a crescendo of participation peaking nearest to the game, I went down the street to the Center much later and queued up with my roommate James who was very eager to get a grilled burger. On such a cold night, being near a flaming grill provided much comfort as I observed hungry young Americans committed to the barely moving queue, some staying longer at the tables to sneak a hot dog as well, to the dismay of those far behind in the queue. There was a band playing songs familiar to most who were present, contributing to the overall American ambiance.
The game was more exciting than watching people eat. I sat behind the “Colonial Army”, which I assume is similar to the Kop or Forza Milan, but less “Ultras” and more happy-students-just-having-fun. Thank god the words to the GW Fight Song or “Hail to the Buff and Blue” were displayed on the big screen. A guy wearing a yellow colonial hat at the front said something along the lines of: “This is the Colonial Army… you have to be loud otherwise you have to sit somewhere else”. Owing to a terrible experience in the past when I wore a Liverpool jersey to a local Arsenal Fan Club hangout, I gave a worried look to James and memorized the song in one seating. It didn’t really matter and no one was kicking me out for just sitting and clapping, but it was nice to participate in whatever quantity of school spirit that possessed the crowd. It certainly was more fun than when I watched a pre-season game between Miami Heat and Washington Wizards.
Here is a video of one of the songs that we sang along with to cheer the team on and have fun ourselves. We “woah-oh”-ed to the “chorus” – if you can call it that – of Kernkraft 400:
After the resounding victory and a satisfying late dinner, we went back to our room and every once in a while, one of us would have this song in our head and start humming it and we’ll hum it together for a minute.
I had fun and hope to see the team for another victory this Tuesday.