As many of you may know I currently reside in the great crab cake loving state of Maryland. As such, I don’t get to see my Boilermakers in person very often. I was able to see them play a home game while back in Indiana over break but other than that, nothing. The in-laws were nice enough to get me a pair of tickets to the game for my birthday. My wife was supposed to attend with me but thanks to a change in her grad school schedule I was left with an extra ticket. As luck would have it a good friend of mine from Purdue was coming into town for work so we connected and headed to the game. This is that story.
If you’ve never been to the Maryland campus it truly is a beautiful area. Rolling hills, green green grass, lovely brick buildings. The thing is though, it feels unlike any other B1G campus I’ve ever been on. Perhaps that’s because it didn’t used to be a B1G campus. It feels very much like an ACC campus (which obviously makes sense). Very much a southern feel to it. Regardless, it’s a beautiful place. One thing you’ll notice is that they love the turtle and telling you to fear it. It’s on signs, it’s on shirts, it’s on buildings, flags, pants, everywhere.
As we got closer to the arena we heard a few ‘Boiler Ups’ but not too much. As we chatted with a couple of Maryland fans they asked if we went to Purdue and where we lived now. My buddy lives in Chicago at this point in his life and when he said that the return comment he got was “Chiraq” so he didn’t take too kindly to that. So rather than staying to chat we chose to move on. Once inside the arena we hustled up to our seats because we were running late. I’ll spare you the details of the game itself since you can read our lovely game wrap and get back to the gloriousness that was the victory. Instead, let’s talk about the fans around us.
They were great. Absolutely great people. To our right was a family of four with a very knowledgeable son who sat next to me. We chatted about the game during it and you could tell this kid is super excited to go to Maryland in like seven years. To our left was an older gentleman who was just as nice as could be. Eager to chat with opposing fans and engage in respectful conversation. The same with the woman in front of me who was very into the game and very loud but in a completely fun way.
Not everyone was a joy to be around though. A gentleman and his (roughly) ten year old son a few rows in front of us continuously turned around and yelled random things at us and the Purdue fans a few seats down from us. It didn’t bother me but like come on bro you’re young son is right there. Maybe don’t encourage him to yell insults at strangers huh? When the MD student section started to chant “You are ugly” at Isaac Haas I got mad. As the former VP of the Paint Crew I know a thing or two about how stuff like this happens and it’s not by accident. This was coordinated by someone for some reason. In defense of the MD fans though the majority of them were upset about them chanting this and seemed to indicate this was out of character for them. The exception being dad and his son who joined in and even turned and pointed at all the Purdue fans around him. Classy fellow.
During one of the timeouts the MD dance team came out and their was a group of men in suits, with the colored spot in their hair, called the Turgeonites who came out and danced alongside them. I found it odd but strangely enough the fans loved them. The kid next to me says they do this all the time and people just go nuts. Who knew.
Then of course the two other things MD always does include the unfurling of the MD state flag in the student section (people in MD love their state flag I’ve quickly learned) and then they also have a small video board segment where the Turtle drives a train and hits the mascot of the other team. In Purdue’s case the turtle drove the train and ran over the motion P. It was a bit confusing since Purdue’s mascot IS A TRAIN. Oh well.
As Purdue finally found a way to pull out the victory we were elated. Lots of cheering, chanting, and fight song singing was done as we walked out of the arena. Kudos to the MD fans who were completely respectful to us as we did this. I didn’t experience any bad behavior from the MD fans as we left. Overall it was a great experience. This was my third time at the Xfinity Center and I find it an enjoyable place to watch a game. Even from the last row, which is where I sat, you still get a very nice view of the game. Overall a great experience but the win sure helped.