I started school at San Diego State University last week.
My story with San Diego State football is complex but only about a year old. Last year, in mid-September, the Aztecs upset the Stanford Cardinal at home. Students stormed the field at Qualcomm Stadium – kind of a dangerous feat really if you look at the way the seating’s laid out – and I watched from my home in Lawrence, Kansas. This was weeks before I even thought about coming to school here, at that time I wasn’t certain about grad school and even then I didn’t have a clue about programs outside of the Midwest.
At the same time, I was writing on this blog. Football Hell was supposed to be much different, originally, I was trying to examine a full Kansas Football season from as many angles as I could. I wanted to sit in different sections of the stadium, speak with different people, feel every possible emotion and reflection I could at Memorial Stadium, and then I could bang out like 10,000 or so words on the experience and post ’em here each week. Like four or five days after I started this blog, I had what could be described as an anxious breakdown and ended up looking for support systems, one which I found in the Marching Jayhawks. While being around friends for hours each week made life much better, it made this site somewhat redundant. I’d be sitting in the same seat around the same people each week.
After about three weeks, I realized that I was just doing what everyone else was doing, and I had to kind of course correct, and by the end of the season I think I came up with something decent and unique, but I never turned Football Hell into what I wanted Football Hell to be.
I sent in an application to SDSU in Mid-December. I started speaking with professors in the program about a week after the application went through, and the program officially accepted me in mid-January.
Tonight, at 6 PM, Stanford and SDSU play again. This year they’re in Palo Alto, an eight-hour drive away, and Stanford, once again, is favored. I will be watching. It feels strange to say that so confidently, but I watched the entirety of Tulane’s game against Wake Forest last night because I think their offense is kind of interesting, actually attending SDSU gives me a better reason to support them than I have for most other teams I’ve apparently declared to be appointment viewing.
I don’t have the years upon years of pain and joy that define my KU fandom, and I’m going to be infinitely more invested in KU’s struggle against an FCS team on Saturday, but watching Stanford and SDSU I think will be a fascinating experience. I like this school a lot, and I’ve only been here about a week! The city’s great and the students I’ve met and talked to seem genuinely invested and excited to be there. I’m doing real, hands-on work with students, too! I feel about as invested here, and maybe a little bit more in some ways, as I did at KU. I really like San Diego State!
So why shouldn’t I support the team? It’s not like I’m betraying the Jayhawks to show the new team some love too. Besides, I get free tickets and I live within walking distance of the huge ex-NFL stadium that houses the Aztecs. I’d be letting myself down if I didn’t support them, really.
I have to wonder if this is blasphemy to other people, the idea of supporting a school that isn’t just your undergrad, but then I also have to wonder if those other people watched every minute of a winless season and several more multi-digit loss seasons during college. If it weren’t for bandwagons and exciting players, I’d probably hate football altogether. I know people who do, and I can’t blame them.
So tonight begins a new, serious fandom for me. I’m excited to see where it takes me, if it takes me anywhere, and even if it doesn’t, it’ll be nice to have something to tie me into the school after this first week of classes.
Now, if you’d excuse me, I need to read up on both Aristotle and Marshall Faulk.