The UVa football game on Saturday was pretty amazing. Mainly because of the sheer scale of the operation, as is obviously shown in the photo above. Thousands of students attending, but also thousands of non-students – alumni and parents, yes, but also tons of people just from Charlottesville and the surrounding area, coming to support their local team and bringing along the whole family (toddlers decked out in UVa cheerleading outfits, babies in Wahoo onesies, you name it). And of course all the ceremony that goes along with it, which actually plays a far larger part in the event than the game itself : the huge marching band (maybe 50-100 members) creating elaborate formations, the cheerleaders, the dance squad, the mascots, the fun and games played during the (many, many) breaks in play. It really is a quintessential American event and certainly very impressive, but what it so astonishing is that it is a university game. Not professional. I realise this is totally normal here (even high school sports are newsworthy and attract significant attention and audiences) but this kind of to-do for a university sport is so utterly unheard of in the UK that it is hard to get your head around the concept. But still. It’s a lot of fun. Even if the sport itself is kind of ridiculous.
(I would love to post a video of some of the singing and chants during the game, but it seems I would have to actually pay to have that function on here. Which, uh, no thank you. Sorry. I’ll make do with more photos. Click for bigger versions.)