The Jaguars Fan Plight: The Difference Between College And Pro Game Experiences
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As I have admitted more than once, I am a huge huge huuuuuge Gator fan. I know, I know. I am one of those obnoxious people who cheers hardcore for a college team when it isn’t their college team. But I have an excuse, I swear! The University of North Florida doesn’t HAVE a football team. That puts me in the clear, right? Right? I just happened to conveniently forget about UNF’s sad excuse for a basketball team as I traveled with my dad to try to get tickets to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game, okay? You can’t honestly try to hold that against me.
My dad has been a season ticket holder to the Gator football games for as long as I can remember. He actually has an excuse to be a Gator fan, graduating from there and then perusing his law degree there and all. I was just his little inductee. I had no choice. My mom wouldn’t even let me buy clothes that put black and red together. I don’t know what would have happened if I had mentioned that I thought a bulldog was cute.
However, I am not as fortunate as my dad. I managed to sneak my way into tickets maybe (MAYBE) one game a year. When I finally was old enough to work, I was old enough to work weekends. College football unfortunately fell off the map at that time.
Then I got connections at the school. My best friend in the whole world moved to Gainesville, declared herself pre-med and the rest was history. Her family has amazing seats (50 yard line, 27 rows up – to DIE for) but she… she had student tickets. Cheap, wonderful student tickets. Instead of sitting on the comparatively muted alumni side, I was snuffed knee to knee with frat boys and crazy students and drunk people alike. And most of the time we were right next to the band.
This video pretty much sums it up:
The highlights for those of you who don’t want to watch it:
The student section.
Mister Two Bits.
All the chants.
Our announcer going “Oh my” (he also does Tampa Bay’s games)
There is nothing like the atmosphere of a college game. Gainesville, being a college town, is just consumed by it. It feels like a whole other world. You pretty much stand the entire game. The band basically has the entire stadium trained (my boyfriend was playing NCAA the other day and one of the Gator chants came on and I instinctively started doing the chomp — how scary!).
Honestly, the pro games are much more muted comparatively. There is an older crowd at the Jags game. Everything is much more streamlined and the chance of huge awesome plays is a lot less likely since the level of play is much higher. Therefore, the excitement level typically isn’t as high.
I will give props to the north end zone, though. They are nicknamed the “cage of rage” for a reason. They make so much noise and enjoy themselves so much that it is just insane. The rest of the stadium just hasn’t picked up on that yet.
However, the Jaguars did let the fans watch the playoff games at the stadium and this is what it looked like after the Jaguars’ win over the Steelers:
And that person wasn’t even outside — they were just in the budzone. I went down there with my brother, my dad and my friend and when Scobee kicked the field goal everyone was jumping all around and high fiving and giving hugs and cheering.
There will always be a difference between the atmospheres of college and pro. However, the Jaguar fans are building a fan base that will still have the electricfying feeling as the Gator games. It was there the night the Jags beat the Steelers and it wasn’t even played there.
There is no reason for Jaguar fans to have to choose between their college team and their pro team. They can still get the same feelings in both places.