Around this time, 5 years ago, I walked into our church and when I had left I had met my future husband. At the time... I didn't know it... nor did I suspect it... AT ALL. But 5 years ago, my path finally crossed The Mister's. 7 months later I was at my first NC State sporting event and was baptized into the Salmon Family tailgate.
Let me tell you something, when my sweet boyfriend at the time asked me to go to a little tailgate... I was imagining a truck, a bucket of fried chicken, and a few friends. Boy was I wrong! When we arrived that day, I saw an RV with State decals all over it, multiple tents, 50+ family and friends, and enough food to feed an army. And before you think his family is the only one who does it like that, you'd better think again. All around us were tents and vehicles and grills and amazing trailers specifically designed for NC State tailgates. It was my first time... and I'll never forget the beauty of it. From that point on, I was sold. NC State fans were my kind of people.
Unlike many NC STATE fans, I wasn't born and raised one. I'm an outsider who moved to NC after college for graduate school and had ZERO clue about the intense rivalry here between the schools. I married into the NC STATE family first, and then after realizing what a GREAT place it was, I got a degree from there. (It was also part of the deal when you marry a Salmon... You're not really a Salmon until you have an NC State diploma... ;) ). So my years as a fan aren't as many as yours, but my love for it has grown significantly over these past 5 years.
I'll get to the point.
Last night was amazing. The thrill of the crowd. The chanting. The unity. I've never seen anything like it before. Standing in the PNC arena, surrounded by a sea of red, cheering for our team. There's no doubt about it, NC State fans are some of the best in the nation. Definitely the best in the triangle. Before becoming a Salmon, I attended multiple "big games" with friends to various schools in the area. Let me tell you... ain't nobody got nuthin' on State. There's no doubt about that.
And here's the great thing about being a State fan. Last night we lost. And it was painful. Not painful in a "Holy cow we got demolished sorta way..." but painful in a "OH MY GOSH... 1 pt.... REALLY?!?!?!?" And as much as I was bummed. Really bummed. I'm still proud & I'd rather wear red than any shade of blue any day. So today, I woke up, put my fav NC State shirt back on and went out into the world. And guess what, I saw a lot of you... heads held high at the gym or at the grocery store. And we stopped, we chatted, and we head nodded our way about our lives. There's a comradery there that exists NOT ONLY WHEN WE WIN, but also when we lose. And that's what I love about State fans. We're not fair weathered friends, we're in this for the long haul. Once you become a State fan, there's no going back or switching to the latest local winning school.
So this post goes out to the State fans. The folks, like my inlaws, who have been attending these games for decades. Who have sat in those seats, worn red, and cheered at the top of their lungs for years. This goes out to the hard working people who help make our state great through agriculture, engineering, accounting, teaching, business, architecture, etc. This is to everyone today, the morning after, who put their state attire back on, & went out proudly into the world, heads held high.
Because the truth of the matter is... This is our state & we don't have to have a "W" to know it!
Proud Pack Fan,
Ps. Also... Since it is Throwback Thursday... I had to post this photo... of my littles when they were in the UNC nicu after being born at 31 weeks. #gopack.