Making the Transition From A Coach To A Fan – G’s Story
Gerald Broussard played at the University of Southwesten Louisiana and spent more than a quarter century involved in college football as a player and a coach. Then, for three years, he was the color analyst on the Louisiana Ragin' Cajun Radio Network. This season he is the co-host of the UL pregame show. Saturday, he got an opportunity that most take for granted: He got to sit in the stands and watch a game. Or, try to, anyway. Here is what he had to say afterward:
"Here are my thoughts of my experience as a fan:
First things first, because of the pre-game show I did not get to tailgate. I still anxiously await that. I got to the game during the National Anthem. I was listening to Jay and Richie in the truck. I seemed to be the only one with a sense of urgency to get inside the stadium. The officers were so nice and helpful to the people that didn’t know where they were going. They were killing me because I knew where to go and I was in a great rush to get there. I was outwardly smiling and inwardly cussing like a mad man.
Once I parked I had to navigate the parking lot which was filled with people having a great time and not the least bit concerned about the game that had just kicked off. I was getting the play by play from the PA announcer. I located my wife Julie who had been tailgating with friends and we made our way into the stadium. We entered the stadium at the gate nearest the baseball field. The line was long but it moved along very quickly. While we were entering the Cajuns scored the first TD.
Now it was to get to our seats in section “G” (of course). Section G was at the far end from where we entered. While we made our way through the crowd that was laughing, drinking, eating, and otherwise having a great time I was fit to be tied. Needless to say I don’t do well in crowds. I just don’t fit well. We got to the top of section G and I looked at our tickets for the row and seat numbers. Row 15 seats 21-25. We got to the row as Eli broke the long run for the second score. I missed all but his display of speed at the end.
I located our seats.
Of course they were occupied.
I really didn’t care because there were so many people all around and they were not even paying attention to the game. Julie and I found seats a little closer to the field up against the fence that bordered the grass hill. We were able to sit and text my son John, Arrie (John’s girlfriend), and other friends to tell them where we were and to let them know there was room around us. Now that we were seated I wanted to focus on the game. I couldn’t really see what I wanted to because the seats were too low and at a bad angle. Julie took off to the concession stand to get me a beer. She is way too kind. Our friends showed up and they gave me the play by play of their tailgating experiences. By the way Northwestern scored during this and I really couldn’t tell you how or why.
Julie seemed to be gone a long time and I was feeling like a bad husband for letting my sweet wife brave the sea of humanity to buy ME a beer. She finally got back and had to weave her way through the rows of people with her hands full. Several fellas jokingly offered to relieve her of the refreshments. Luckily no one got too fresh or I would have added other experiences. I indulged in the beer and once again tried to focus on the game. John and Arrie showed up and we got the run down of their tailgating experiences. Several conversations were going on all around me and the actual game seemed to be an afterthought.
The hill was covered with kids playing. Parents were visiting and keeping an eye on the children. Everyone was laughing and enjoying a beautiful day in Lafayette. The Cajun and Demon faithful were drinking, eating, spending time with friends and family. The Cajuns were playing well. There were two ladies in front of us wearing NSU colors. They were cheering for both teams though. I asked them what’s their deal. They told me they were from Lafayette but graduated from Northwestern and had family with both teams. They said they love both teams. They were having a ball. This is what fans do at a game.
Brim, I am here to tell you I don’t know if I can do this. As the game got closer to half I told Julie I wanted to leave. I told John and Arrie I wanted to leave. I told our friends I wanted to leave. Julie and John understood. I don’t think the others did. We made our way out of the stadium and got home just in time for the second half kickoff. We put the game on the tube. Now I had a view I could analyze and could see what I needed to better answer questions about the why’s and the how’s of the game. I had to turn down the volume though because I was not a fan of the broadcast team. I tried to listen to Jay and Richie but it didn’t sync up quite right and that really had me messed up. I watched the second half from my recliner with my bride in the quiet of our home. I was very content as I wondered what in the hell is wrong with me. I am so used to the game and the competition being the focus of the day. I don’t know how to let the complete experience be the focus. Everyone I know loves game day and the game day experience. I can’t even make a half. Maybe as time goes I will get better at being a fan but for now I’d have to say I’m not too good at it.
I know when I see people this week they will all be speaking of their experiences over the weekend as fans of their teams. One day I hope to be able to share in those conversations with the same passion for the experience. Right now I am quite a ways from that. For now I will keep my conversations to the X’s and O’s. Some people tell me when I speak about the technical part of the game I am speaking a different language.
That is how I feel when everyone else speaks of being a fan.
I just don’t understand. '