As I sit here, at 2 in the morning, I think it’s worth reflecting on BC football, and what it has meant to me all of these years as a BC undergrad.
At around the beginning of the fourth quarter Saturday afternoon, I was standing alone in the student section behind the south endzone of Alumni Stadium when a friend from one of my history classes sophomore year came up to me and we started talking about how it was the final game of our undergraduate careers. She asked me a question that stuck with me until I got back to my apartment in Brighton.
“Did you cry yet?”
It was not an unreasonable question. Leading into the game, it had occurred to me that Saturday might be emotional, not just for me, but for everyone in my class.
For me, BC football was my first real exposure into the fandom of Division 1 FBS football. Most of my exposure to college football was through my dad taking me to the semi-annual Lehigh-Lafayette game in Bethlehem, Pa. My freshmen year I attended Quinnipiac (yes, that Quinnipiac), so while I was well acquainted with the world of college hockey, I didn’t know much about college football.
My first experience with Boston College football was BC’s first game against UMass at Gillette a few years ago. I remember my dad texting me beforehand telling me that I was about to experience Power-5 college football.
The next three hours gave me an indoctrination into the world of BC football. With the help of some people I met on the bus (shoutout to Connor Hawley and Patrick Roehm), I learned the chants, the hand movements, even some BC football lore.
Two weeks later, I woke up in my bed on Welch 3 to anticipation. I grew up with the frame of mind that USC was one of the best football programs in the country, and the ability to watch them live and in person excited me. After I went to the Superfan Zone to take some pictures for The Heights, I ran back to my dorm to grab my Superfan shirt, ran back to Alumni and met up with Connor, Patrick and Alex (who I met the week before against Pitt) to watch BC and USC play from the front row.
I fell in love with BC football that night; how couldn’t you? From the electricity in the air and the excitement of the game, and the storming of the field at the end, it remains the most memorable night of my BC career.
Over the next three years at Alumni, I experienced excitement, and heartbreak (a lot of heartbreak). But like religion, I still made my way back for every home game, and turned on the TV for every away game (to the chagrin of my sophomore year roommate).
And so, as the clock hit zero, I made my way down to the bottom of our section, jumped the fence at a place not too far from where I jumped the fence sophomore year and ran out onto the field.
To go back to the question my friend asked me in the fourth quarter, I lasted until the alma mater. At that point I couldn’t handle it anymore. I wasn’t the only one.
I looked around at my classmates on the field, with many eyes bloodshot from tears. I met up with my friend and we lamented that we had just sat through our last football game as undergrads.
Despite what others have said on this site in the past, I would contend that BC students care deeply about their teams, and their school. The emotions displayed Saturday was evidence of that. Even through two of the most difficult years to be a fan of BC football, everyone in our class present was overcome with emotion when they realized that Saturday was it for us.
I think back to the first time I saw a football game at BC. It was when we played Pitt for the home opener, and I remember a professor mentioning that all classes were cancelled after 4 PM. Seeing how the campus transformed, and effectively shut down, I can understand why. For a bright eyed transfer student from a school that no one knew where it was located (Connecticut, you guys. Connecticut), there was something comforting in experiencing something that the whole entire community embraced.
And now that weekly exposure is gone. But I have things to remember it by. First, I will remember my time through my friendships with Patrick, Alex and Connor. I also will hold the friendships that I cultivated with writers on this site, friendships with Joe, A.J., Grant, and Coach JF, in the highest regard, friendships that would not have happened without BC football.
Second, I will have my Superfan shirt, which I have refused to take off since the beginning of the day today. It is the same Superfan shirt that endured USC, a winless ACC season, and two trips to Gillette. No matter where I end up after graduation, I would be willing to bet that every Saturday in the fall it will make its way out of the dresser.
Finally, I will have the memories, both the memories made during my undergraduate career and the memories yet to be made; because if you think that this is it for me or the rest of my class, you’re crazy. We will be back. This is not it for us. It is not the end of a loving short-term relationship, it is the maturation of a long-lasting devotion to our team.
Thank you BC football. It wasn’t easy to root for you guys all the time, but you’ll always hold a special place in my heart.