By Donna Yee (October 22, 2007)
Homecoming Tailgate Party Provides Food and Fun for Football Fans
The smoky smell of barbeque and the sight of tents and trailers filled the SEFCU Arena parking lot Oct. 13 prior to the big Homecoming Weekend football game with Sacred Heart.
White tents housed food and the sale of UAlbany T-shirts and memorabilia, while a band played on stage, its singer's voice rising only slightly above the laughter and talk of football, food and memories. Children and adults alike carried colorful balloons twisted into shapes of dogs, flowers and monkeys. Fans from the respective universities set up tables, chairs and barbeques in preparation for the game.
The Student Association was on hand to hand out gifts, while under the tent next door, Moe's Southwest Grill provided free nachos and salsa and a chance to win 50 "Moe dollars." The United States Marine Corps challenged fans to perform chin-ups and flexed arm hangs. Those who completed the challenge were rewarded with T-shirts, water bottles and carabiners.
Lillian Garcia, a parent of two daughters, one a graduate of UAlbany and the other a current student, observed attendance was higher this year than last, and attributed the increase to better weather.
For Jessica Villmore, a UAlbany senior from Staatsburg majoring in English, this was her first experience at a UAlbany homecoming football game. "I may not completely understand football, but that won't stop me from having a good time and showing my support," she said.
UAlbany alumni were also a significant presence at the tailgate party. All alumni had been invited to various events that occurred during homecoming weekend. Bill Bubniak '72, supported the Great Danes with his enthusiasm and a novel hat in the shape of a Great Dane. Bubniak's drink container even wore a can-sized UAlbany jersey.
Spread across the parking lot, fans
brought their own tents or simply barbequed
in the bed of their pickup truck or trunk of
their SUV. The jerseys of UAlbany football
players hung from several tents as a show of
support. Some fans wore face paint in the
UAlbany colors of purple and gold, while
others sported purple temporary tattoos in
the shape of a dog's paw print. As the time
for kickoff neared, fans, some clutching
pompoms and seat cushions, migrated
excitedly to the stands to support their
team, whether UAlbany or Sacred Heart.
The UAlbany fans were rewarded with a
38-7 victory over Sacred Heart at University
Field. The homecoming crowd of 6,417 was
fifth-largest in the program's history.