SoldierMan had the long holiday weekend off, of course, so my parents came down to visit. It also just so happened that OU was playing UTEP on Saturday, so the timing of their visit was perfect. It was our first OU game since the Army (obviously), so we were very, very excited.
So excited that, when we started hearing about how insane the parking and crowds were for UTEP games – and seeing how there is only really a couple main roads to the Sun Bowl and limited nearby parking – we left something like 3 hours early. We’re used to games in Norman, where a 6:30 kickoff means that I-35 Southbound is gridlocked by noon, and if you’re lucky you’ll pay $20 to park 3 miles from the stadium.
We overcompensated for El Paso. By a lot.
But that’s okay, because so did every other OU fan who came to the game, and there were at least a couple of hundred. Pretty decent showing for an away season opener.
In case anyone is ever in our position, none of the big crowds really start getting there until maybe 45 minutes before kickoff. (So it was mostly OU people hanging around outside for the hour+ beforehand, which was fun.) And parking, well, for an OU game not bad $$$-wise, and we only had to walk maybe a mile.
And it was mostly a flat mile, through all the UTEP and OU tailgaters. That was really fun. Some drunk UTEP person would stop us and start talking trash, and we’d joke around with them, and then a less-drunk UTEP person would come up and say, “Don’t take it personally, we’re really glad you’re here.” Walk 15 feet, rinse, repeat. It was great.
When we got there, the Pride of Oklahoma was warming up in the parking lot. So we stood with a group and watched. :)
Waiting to be let in. There was at least as much crimson as orange in that crowd. (That changed once the Sun Bowl filled, of course.)
Waiting for the game to start.
Watching the Sooners warm-up. The general admission section (the only place we could buy tickets) was first-come, first-served seating. So we grabbed the very front row. End zone, but still. When else are we going to sit on the ground at an OU game???? Couldn’t pass that up!
I know, I know, it was most certainly not a stellar first showing. And we were seated next to the student section, which made things…interesting. :) It was a fun game, though. UTEP (and I don’t mean this bad) but it’s a very high school football-like atmosphere. Very casual, the team actually enters the field through the bleachers rather than the tunnel opposite us (behind the other goal posts in the picture).
We had a great time, even though the game was much more of a nail-biter than we had expected! My parents wound up in a game-long conversation with a group of UTEP fans behind us, and when the game was over, they all gave us hugs and said goodbye. But that’s how it was everywhere. Except for the few obligatory obnoxious college guys (and it’s their school, it’s their right) everyone was super friendly and welcoming. My dad wore an OU shirt I think every day they were here, so everywhere we went people wanted to stop and talk about the game, and be very friendly. Which is another reason I love El Paso. The locals are some of the warmest people.
The rest of their visit was spent playing dominoes and dice. Mostly dominoes. Hours and hours of dominoes. We had a blast.
I’m so glad they came down. It was my mom’s first visit and I was very excited to show her our house and the city lights from I-10 and Freedom Crossing. She loved it all, of course! Thankfully, since SoldierMan’s schedule got screwed up and he had Tuesday off instead of Friday, they were able to arrange to stay a day later than they had planned. The puppies were very happy. :) I know they’re going to miss my mom. I certainly don’t feed them bacon every morning!