Louisiana sports fans are a whole different breed of people. For LSU fans the saying "Live Purple Love Gold" goes way beyond sports. It is who we are and it is a major part of our lives. From infants to the elderly, the devotion to the Tigers is deeply rooted across the Sportsman's Paradise and across the nation. We are used to losing some and winning some — and we are definitely used to losing games we should have won and used to winning games we should have lost. That's something that makes our fans true blue. We love the team when they're down- and we love them when they're up.
This 2018 season has drug us through a whole range of emotions. We defeated the odds and beat Miami in the first week of the season. Two weeks later I sat and watched as we defeated Auburn by 1 point in a last-second field goal by none other than Cole Tracy. The 21-22 miracle was an answer to our prayers, as my friends and I literally knelt on the floor holding hands and prayed for the kick to be good. At that moment our season changed for the better.
Our happiness was further elevated two weeks later by defeating Ole Miss in Tiger Stadium — where the chance of rain is NEVER (even though we were soaked to the core by the end of the game). At the end of the night I had to throw away my favorite pair of white pants from the dirt and rain - but watching LSU beat another SEC team in Tiger Stadium for the first time live was worth every second.
Hoping our luck would stick and we would win, my friends and I trekked halfway across the country from Baton Rouge, Louisiana to Gainesville, Florida to watch LSU take on their next opponent. Smuggling six (yes six) people across state lines in a four-person car is something I will never forget as long as I live. The drive there was only supposed to be eight hours, we made it in 14. The Tigers lost in the Swamp, but making a pit stop to play in the waves on the way home made up for it for sure. Our spirits were a little crushed, but as always we knew our Tigers would come back from it.
Our sadness quickly changed to elation again the next week as the Tigers beat the #2 team in the country at the time- the Georgia Bulldogs. I had never seen Tiger Stadium so full of life or heard it so loud. Storming the field after the victory was a moment that students and fans alike will never forget. If you could see us all carrying "souvenirs" out of the stadium for us to remember the game forever you'd understand how happy we were. I have scars on the back of my ankles from where I cut myself on the fence as I jumped over in my heels. As a girl who grew up in metro Atlanta and seeing all of her UGA fan friends so confused and upset - it was one of the best moments of my life.
The next week provided us a win over Mississippi State (once again in the pouring rain) and then a bye week to prepare for what every LSU fan dreads — Alabama. With #FreeDevinWhite all over campus and College GameDay setting up in the Quad, the anxious and ominous feeling surrounding Baton Rouge is a feeling I will never forget. Watching the purple and gold busloads of fans pour in town amazed me. Dedication to our team, knowing the outcome is uncertain, to say the least, is something LSU fans do best.
Our staggering loss against Alabama hurt our souls, but we never let it keep us down. After our weekend of mourning it was time to get back on with life. A win on the road against Arkansas and an absolute shutout against Rice all led us to the last game of the year- Texas A&M.
Students at home for Thanksgiving, like me, all huddled around our TVs as we watched the 7 overtime game. 72-74. A game we should have won three times over. My heart hurt for all of the football players and fans in College Station that day. Our team deserved every point they got — and the ones they were cheated of. Those who were able to go to the game said they wouldn't change their decision, as this is a new LSU classic game.
Coming to LSU from out of state and being 500 miles from home I was terrified and scared for what was to come. I loved LSU and I loved football so I knew when the season started I'd be okay. Throughout this season I have made so many memories that I will carry for a lifetime. I will tell my children and grandchildren about the stories and adventures LSU football gave me this year. I have made friends that I would not trade for the world, who through thick and thin sat beside me on game day and every other day I needed them.
There isn't a second I would change or do over. I'd do it again and again if I could.
So win or lose on January 1 against UCF, it's still forever LSU.