The Stanford Game Day Experience

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As I lay in bed listening to the rain pitter-patter on the window, I thought to myself, “I could not have picked a more miserable day to document the Stanford game day experience.” Not only would my pictures look all sad and gloomy, but also I questioned how much the wet weather would impact attendance. People in Palo Alto are afraid of two things: a bad Wi-Fi connection and rain.

The Oregon State v. Stanford game was scheduled for a 12:30PM kick-off, so my goal was to be on campus at 9AM to get in 3 solid hours of tailgating. Usually, I’m there when the lots open, but the thought of standing outside in the rain for 5 hours didn’t sound appealing. Three hours is plenty of time to get soaked.

Here’s the weather as I walked to the tailgating machine:

After a quick stop at the Menlo Park Trader Joe’s for supplies (basil & pesto chicken sausage, coleslaw, hummus, chips, and beer), we headed to Stanford.

As we arrived, I was disappointed to see that the tailgating lots were still empty.

It’s just rain, people, not acid failing from the sky.

This is our tailgating machine. He’s a 14-year-old green Toyota Tacoma, and he easily holds the 19 boxes of stuff we take with us to Stanford games.

Are we tailgating, or are we moving in?

Last season, my husband Matt installed a bottle opener on the inside lip.

Sure, can’t put together a coffee table from Ikea, but this he can do!

You never know what you might find at a Stanford tailgate. Some people bring gingham tablecloths, candelabras, and fine wine, while others (me) keep it a bit more low-key. We normally have anywhere from 10-30 people at our tailgates. People stop by for a drink or a hotdog, we’re happy to share with anyone who comes by, including the parking lot attendants and rival fans. We always want people to feel safe and welcome at Stanford.

Ain’t no party like a two grill party, ‘cause a two grill party don’t stop.

We walk in the stadium just before kick-off. Our seat neighbor Larry brought something he’s been dying to show us: a Stanford Robber Barons hat! The “Robber Barons” was on the ballet for the new Stanford nickname after they retired “Indians” in the ‘70s.

A little over 3 minutes into the game, Stanford is up 7-0 on Oregon State and the weather looks like this:

Meanwhile, I’m dressed like the I Know What You Did Last Summer killer in rain boots and a slicker. Touché, Bay Area weather.

Aside from a couple of Kevin Hogan interceptions and a Jordan Williamson missed field goal, Stanford looked good early on.

At half time, the Cardinal led 28-7. OSU’s only points came when Stanford generously spotted them about 80 yards of field position on Hogan’s second pick.

The halftime show was “LSJUMB Reads Mean Tweets”. If you’re unfamiliar with the Reads Mean Tweets trend, I encourage you to check out the Cowboys version. My favorite LSJUMB tweet was something like, “The Stanford tree looks like what would happen if a frat entered a mascot competition.” Fantastic.

Look at all of the Trees!  

Also, we all celebrated Stanford’s 20th straight Director’s Cup.

A couple of other game highlights: Kevin Anderson’s sack on 3rd and 22, and Ty Montgomery’s punt return for a touchdown. As usual, the defense was stellar. When all we said and done, Stanford won 38-14 (the last OSU touchdown came with less than 6 minutes to go against Stanford’s backups). It wasn’t Stanford’s cleanest game ever, but it was some much-needed chicken soup for the weary Stanford fan’s soul. It was important that the Cardinal got something going offensively before heading to Eugene next week to face the Pac-12 North leader, and that’s exactly what they did with this win.

Hail Stanford, Hail.

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