Andrea had never been to a basketball game.

During spring break of senior year, I visited Andrea in New York. Over the next few days, we wandered the MoMA and went happy hour hopping. We hung out on her apartment building rooftop and dyed Easter eggs with her roommates. We went clubbing and dined at awesome restaurants. On my last night in town, we brainstormed what to do next.

“Going to an art museum, eating delicious food — ”

“– clubbing and drinking — ”

” — are very classic us activities. We should try something different.”

“You’ve never been to a basketball game.”

“True! Plus, we’ve never gone to a sporting event together!”

“Probably because you call games sporting events.”

“We totally would’ve made it to the LSU game if we hadn’t tailgated too hard.”

“I’m not sure what did us in — the alcoholic watermelon or the shots.”

“The Knicks website says there’s a game tonight! Are the cheapest tickets okay?”

“Yeah! We’re going for the experience, not to watch from the best seats.”

I made Andrea’s favorite dish (spaghetti pie), which we ate to soak up several bottles of wine. Equally full and drunk, we headed to Madison Square Garden. After stumbling up to the box office, Andrea leaned on the counter. I stood beside her.

“Hi! We bought tickets for tonight’s game online. The website said we could pick them up here?”

The cashier raised his eyebrows. “Tonight’s game? Not this weekend’s?”

“Yep!”

“Tonight’s game is in San Antonio.”

“Really?!”

“You should always check that it’s a home game and not an away game.”

“Oops!” She shrugged, giggling.

Andrea still hasn’t been to a basketball game.

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In the South, college football is a religion.

In the South, college football is a religion.

Prior to going to UGA, I never followed sports. The sport I knew most about was basketball (in that I could watch a game and was generally aware of what was happening). But something happens when you’re a student and there’s a home football game.

Saturdays in Athens are sacred.

Before each game, 90,000 fans file into Sanford Stadium. After the Dawgs warm up, the crowd is silent. A solo trumpeter from the Redcoats marching band plays “The Battle Hymn of the Bulldog Nation.” As the trumpeter holds the last note, the crowd roars and the game begins.

On Saturday mornings during senior year, we pitched our Young Dems tailgating tent on north campus next to Sanford Stadium. We usually arrived around 8AM, when fellow fans were already firing up their grills and drinking beers. Guys wore red or black polos and slacks. Girls wore red, black, and white game day dresses. Students, alumni, and random fans who never went to UGA united to cheer on the Dawgs.

Andrea didn’t get to experience living in a college town, as she went to NYU. Still, she visited us several times a semester. Some people were surprised that she didn’t actually go to school with us, since she was always there for our biggest parties. That year, she was in town for the LSU game. The Dawgs lost that game, but we had one of our best tailgates — booze, food, and a vodka spiked watermelon. Andrea borrowed one of my dresses and we spent the morning drinking and dancing with Ames and our other friends.

Big sunglasses helped shield our eyes from the glaring sun and also hide the drunken progression.

Andrea, me, & Ames. Athens, Georgia. 10.03.09.

Andrea, me, & Ames. Athens, Georgia. 10.03.09.

“Party in the USA” was our theme song that fall, so Andrea made sure to play it on loop.

Andrea blasting "Party in the USA" with a Dems blue party cup. Athens, Georgia. 10.03.09.

Andrea blasting “Party in the USA” with a Dems blue party cup. Athens, Georgia. 10.03.09.

Southern girls wear dresses to football games. Some people think it’s impractical. We call them haters.

Kate, Ames, Andrea, & me. Athens, Georgia. 10.03.09.

Me, Kate, Ames, & Andrea. Athens, Georgia. 10.03.09.

Hopefully, the Dawgs will prevail against the Gamecocks today, in spite of the fact we aren’t going to be there for the game. Go Dawgs!