Football Culture

LSU graduate students, Kathleen Jackson and Lance Bordelon, at Parrain’s on game day. (Credit: Lance Bordelon)
LSU graduate students, Kathleen Jackson and Lance Bordelon, at Parrain’s on game day. (Credit: Lance Bordelon)

By Otisha Paige | LSU Student

When the word "football" is mentioned in Baton Rouge, images of the Louisiana State University's football team immediately emerge and a feeling of pride exudes.

The Tigers have an enormous fan base, hardly limited to Louisiana, including many who have never attended the school. It's the love of the game that resonates.

In the midst of the fanaticism and pride exists a small number of people that don't share this sentiment. Surrounded by a football culture as pervasive as it is at LSU, the fact that there are people who don't care may be unfathomable to die-hard fans. If they aren't attending games, what do they do?

Lilliana Lopez, a graduate student from Edinburgh, Texas, agrees the LSU culture is exciting since she comes from no small football culture in Texas. She attended the first LSU game against North Texas with classmates, but games are not her priority in graduate school.

She expressed no desire in attending games and would rather explore the Baton Rouge area to get acquainted with the environment. Lopez also expressed interest in going to local bars with people closer to her age.

Newly Paul, a student from India, says she goes to dinner with her husband every home game day because it's the best time to eat and avoid large crowds. She is interested in going to at least one game to "see what all the fuss is about."

Paromita Saha, a graduate student from the United Kingdom, says the only "football" games she attends are those in the U.K. where the term means soccer. She admitted that she doesn't understand the American rules, "but loves the razzmatazz that goes with it." That said, she hasn't attended a game at LSU.

Saha also expressed difficulty in obtaining tickets. She also has yet to attend a tailgate function.

The number of people not enchanted with Tiger fever is not limited to females.

Donnie McNeal, a graduate student from Alexandria, La., says he supports players for their skills, but is not supportive of football as an institution because the culture targets football, not the success of the players off of the field.

In spite of this view, McNeal tailgates every home game Saturday, noting he is attracted to the environment because it's a good place to "eat, drink, and be social."

LSU plays one of their biggest rivals, Alabama, Saturday. Close to 140,000 people will be on campus, involved with one or another aspect of the game. Some seek refuges elsewhere.