Three Generations, College Football and a Frat Party

By Steve Lee | September 20, 2016 | Nothing is quite like September in a college town. Freshmen trying to find their way around w...

By Steve Lee | September 20, 2016 |

Nothing is quite like September in a college town. Freshmen trying to find their way around while trying not to look too sheepish or homesick. Seniors in flip flops, jeans cutoffs and shirts with messages not fit to print here and of course the two most wonderful of all college experiences, frat parties and college football!

As a guy, life doesn’t get a whole lot better than that. While I may be closer to retirement than qualifying for my first credit card, I fondly remember those college days. Last Saturday, I got to relive a bit of that nostalgia. Not only that, but I got to share it with my father, who I feel pretty confident in stating, had never been to a frat party and my daughter, whom I hope had never been to one.

My father is in his 80’s and being from the Oklahoma /Texas panhandle grew up with a love for college football, but unfortunately didn’t have the means to obtain a college education. His family believed in a day’s wage over education it seems. My daughter is a college senior and returned home to finish her education at Sac State rather than the private school she enrolled in after high school. The private school you see, didn’t allow fraternities or sororities. Now as a commuter, she’s not around school if she’s not in class. I know I dodged a bullet there you don’t have to tell me.

For years I have considered getting us tickets to see Texas and Oklahoma play in the annual Red River Showdown at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. The incredibly high ticket prices made that trip unlikely. Then several weeks ago I saw where Texas was playing Cal at Berkeley. Perfect! I asked my daughter, a staunch sports fan if she was interested. Then I asked my brother by another mother, he was in. It was done!

Last Saturday we drove up to Berkeley, driving in the back way to avoid that University Avenue quagmire, looking for a place to park near the stadium. As we’re about to come to the realization that parking was near impossible, there’s a Cal econ student and Delta Epsilon Phi pledge waving a sign for $40 parking. Sold! We pulled into a single lane driveway, and parked behind the frat house along with approximately 20 other gamers in a grass/gravel space of approximately 600 square feet. The math: $40 x 20 vehicles = party at the Delta house on game day. These guys are smart. 

Thinking $40 was a bit hefty for parking, I requested beers be thrown in as an enticement. The request was met with a smile and an, “Absolutely!” We met wonderful kids, very outgoing and cordial, all welcoming us, asking our names and where we were from. We met a few senior citizens, former frat boys, keeping the blood pumping and trying to stay young. I can relate to that. We were offered burgers and dogs as well. Most of us took a pass as the grill looked like it may have been last cleaned during the Eisenhower administration. But what a great time. We stayed there for over an hour visiting and drinking. I’m thinking these kids have it wired; we’ll all be okay if we can just make it until they take over the world.

Then it was off to the game. Not surprisingly, Texas had as many fans as the Cal Bears did in attendance. The regalia of college football was evident. 80,000 fans in seas of burnt orange and navy blue screaming and rooting for their teams, both marching bands, fireworks, cheerleaders, and a canon. We were seeing college football at its finest. The game was great, back and forth lead changes, and in the end Cal held on for a 50-43 win in an incredible game that lasted over four hours and ended just 15 minutes before Sunday began. It was a memorable day for three generations of this family.

Truly, a day to remember.


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