While the Colorado State University marching band was put through its warm-up paces at Hughes stadium, long before the cleat-clad hooves of the CSU Rams hit the turf at the annual homecoming game, student workers like Kevin Freeman prepared to, “clean up after drunks who puke everywhere in the bathroom,” and vendors set up shop in the baking sun, readying themselves for the hordes of eager sports fans.
As the unseasonable heat became ever more oppressive, toilet attendant Hannah Cleveland attempted to get on task, “I’ve been assigned the student section bathrooms on the east side of the stadium, but the only thing that’s bothering me right now is the heat, it’s fucking hot.” Lillian Wheeler, a psychology major could only muster a single word response, “same.”
Six minutes before kick off the CSU flag began its fluttering journey down the length of the field. Two minutes later, the team emerged from the tunnel and chased Cam the Ram down the pitch, the crowd went wild, the cannon went off, and the rich people in the Rams Horn suites chugged their beers. This was to be the high point of the game.
As San Jose State scored their first touchdown, food server Jen was coasting along in the air-conditioned, VIP tower on the west side of the stadium, “ I’m cutting the prime rib, but I’m also watching the Brewers game on the TV.” On the opposite side of the room, barmaid Lily had less time on her hands, “All day I’m standing next to this liquor that I can’t drink, and there are constant waves of people wanting to be served.” However, Lily admitted, “There are some quiet times during the game, and we just sit here and talk, and I’m OK with that.”
The back and forth on the pitch continued as San Jose State made a mockery of the Rams defensive line and piled on the points, leaving the Rams down 24-14 at half time. Andy, a food server in the Rams Horn corporate suites, wasn’t too bothered, “I actually don’t watch too many plays, I think in the last game I saw a total of three plays, if the cannon goes off I can always just look at the replays.” Andy continued, “Actually its kind of nice if we (the Rams) lose as people go home faster and I can get off earlier.”
As storm clouds loomed behind the ‘A’ the concourse was in full swing. Throngs of drunks attempted to pillage the Black Angus Grill and inebriated students turned the concrete walkway into a urinal. Kevin Freeman wasn’t having a bad day either, “It’s been a lot easier than I expected, the worst I’ve gotten so far is someone thought they could clog the sink with paper towels, if that’s all you’ve got, if that’s the most creative you can be, then I’ve nothing to worry about.” Unfortunately, Kevin had been too busy to actually watch the game, “I’ve been trying to listen to the crowds reaction and gather what’s going on from that.”
The third quarter saw frantic play in either direction; a Rams field goal was doubly negated by a San Jose State touchdown and a conversion, CSU responded in kind and the game was on. Third quarter score 31-24.
The skies darkened during the fourth quarter, and spectators were finally shielded from the retina-searing glare of the Colorado sun. Inexplicably, just as the Rams were gaining momentum the students began their mass exodus. Even as their support dwindled the Rams pulled it back to 31-31, but in the end it wasn’t enough. With just seconds on the clock an amazing play by San Jose State’s Jabari Carr sealed the CSU Rams fate. Carr’s unbelievable deep fade route wrong-footed Shaq Bell and killed the little passion that remained in the stadium.
As the sun set behind the foothills, and long after the cars had emptied from the parking lot, the stadium workers finally prepared to get out of the place. Workers slipped into their Saturday night attire, applied some deodorant, and headed down into Old Town. Kevin Freeman summed up the feeling in the concrete cube that is the janitorial locker room, “Looks like there’s going to be some lucky ladies getting talked to tonight,” and in that moment, Homecoming football was over for another year.
© 2012 Jamie M. Bradley All Rights Reserved