More Than Another Championship
Published: Friday, January 17, 2014
Updated: Friday, January 17, 2014 17:01
Walking through the parking lot early that Saturday morning, I was in awe. In awe of the amount of support, love and laughs the people shared around me. For a moment I wasn’t in a parking lot in Frisco, Texas, I was home.
Free of stress, free of responsibility and thirsty for another championship, or more of whatever the content was in the empty can in my hand. Whichever I was craving more didn’t matter, what mattered were the people around me, draped in green and gold, brought together one final time before heading back to reality, back to the office, back to the classroom and back to Fargo.
The Bison football team is the only team that can produce this kind of continuity between individuals who have never met. Whether you graduated in 1969 or 1999, for one day, for one short period of time, you shared the same blood.
Throughout the 2013 football season, the scene has replicated familiar areas and some not so familiar.
First was on a hilltop. Overlooking the parking lots and stadium where our Bison football team began their season. Manhattan, Kansas, drew a large number of Bison fans. Late August was the first great migration of the year, and not only the win, but also the atmosphere, set the tone for what was to come months later in a familiar northern suburb of Dallas, Texas.
Three weeks after shocking the college football landscape, the same crowd appeared. This time surrounded by office building, banks and outside fine dining businesses. Downtown Fargo opened its arms to The Herd, and its honorary guest for the evening, ESPN.
Bison fans welcomed this as an opportunity to show the nation, and, more importantly, show themselves how wide-spread Bison Nation is and what empowers us as fans to become one. We exposed to the nation that we may not stack up against the Alabamas and Auburns of the world on the field, but we would stack up our devoted love for our football team against anyone who was tailgating in Pasadena, Cal., for the other championship game.
Week after week, fans returned to their familiar spots at the West Lot in the shadow of the Fargodome to celebrate. Pregame for a Bison football game and to postgame a Bison victory. No road bumps in between, not this season.
Even an unusually cold December couldn’t detract Bison fans from coming together to support a team very few had any actual intimate connection to. It’s funny how sports can do that. No matter if you make $40 grand or $100 grand, if you’re in massive student-loan debt or flying a private jet, you cheer for a group of college kids that happen to be wearing a logo that represents your community, and your state of North Dakota. You gather for the cause, no questions asked.
As much as the 12th man has become cliché, it still matters. If you don’t find any truth in that, why don’t you ask the over 18,000 that cram into the Fargodome, and see if they think their support matters.
It’s a cult-like mentality being a Bison fan. Replace the negative connotation to cult and you have a group of people that are tightly bound by one thing. And that one thing happens to be Bison football.
The bright yellow of shirts combined with a bright Texas sky made for a perfect day to celebrate. Through the joys of another championship know the lasting impact this team made, and know that those players accomplished more than a championship, they knitted a closer fan base and a stronger community.