College Football, SEC

Death Valley: Home of the LSU Tigers

You KNOW you’re officially an adult when your parents ask you to host Thanksgiving. Usually we travel to Waco, Texas to have Thanksgiving with both sides of our family… but this year we decided to mix it up a little! My mom has been able to come visit me once since I made the move to the bayou, but outside of moving me here my dad hasn’t been able to spend any time here. So this year, instead of me packing up and heading home, they decided to come my way!
The plus side of them coming here for Thanksgiving? I got to spend the last home game of the season in Death Valley with them. My dad is just like me – he has a whole bucket list of stadiums he wants to visit and teams that he wants to see. He was really excited to see LSU play and visit Tiger Stadium (he’s never seen either). And of course mom is just along for the ride. She’s a trooper!
My parents decided to skip out on the traffic and head over this way at 6:00am on Thursday instead (who can blame them?). We did our family Thanksgiving dinner at my house here in Baton Rouge and of course watched the Cowboys game. This was a strange holiday for us because we usually spend it with our extended family in Waco, Texas. Since I had to work on Saturday and my parents haven’t been out to Baton Rouge yet we decided to have it here this year instead.
I’m new at the whole “adulting” thing still, so I lack nice plate wear for holidays. Never fear though – mom came prepared! Our little makeshift Thanksgiving set up actually turned out very cute! And yes, you will spy two different pies that we split between the three of us…

We spent most of Thursday relaxing at the house and, of course, eating way too much food. But Friday was our day to get out and about. I took my parents to meet Mike the Tiger, see my office, and to pick up an LSU shirt for dad! Not to mention our little side trip to the field…
Saturday was the big day for us though. We got up early, headed to Fat Cow for lunch, then headed to tailgate. After tailgating I had to work a little and then we got to head over to the field. My roommate’s parents go all-out for LSU tailgates and have been for years. So the fact that we were lucky enough to snag an invitation was nice – they have all the food you could imagine, all the alcohol you can imagine, two TVs… and it’s right across the street from the stadium. Think I’m exaggerating? Take a look at our view from the tailgate in that last picture… Prime real estate!
Originally they had planned to cook an entire pig for the home game against Arkansas… but the 11:00am kickoff time threw a wrench in that plan. So they ended up doing it for this game instead! Everyone here was furious with an 11:00am kickoff by the way… nothing ever starts before 2:30pm here. No sympathy from me, though – Tech had 6 this year. Don’t even wanna hear it!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with what I do, I am an assistant academic advisor for student-athletes and one of the sports here that I work with is softball. The LSU Softball team is arguable the best in the country just about every year. It is such a storied program and they consistently go to the Women’s College World Series every year. Coach Beth Torina is a legend!
I only began this position in August… so I’m still learning the ropes, the facts, and the pitches. As part of the academics staff my job is to sell our academic programs and support to recruits. When you’re hosting for one of the top athletics programs in the country… you feel the pressure a little!
Last minute, softball had a group of girls decide they wanted to visit. My boss (who would normally take charge of their recruiting) had already made plans to visit her family for Thanksgiving. I was asked to fill in – ALONE. Even though I confidently accepted the invitation, I shook in my boots for the week leading up to this event. I didn’t have anyone there to correct me or help me if I forgot to mention something or said something wrong. Yeah… I felt the pressure.
But Coach Beth and her staff are absolutely AMAZING. So friendly, so welcoming… They are great people. I stepped away at about 3:00pm to give them their tour of the academics center (and we were also having a luncheon after the conclusion of the academics tour, which Coach Beth so graciously invited my parents to attend too). They were so appreciative of my time and it felt great. Especially considering how nervous I was. Coach Beth ended my tour with a hug and asked where my parents were. They came over shortly after the conclusion and ate with us. The environment here is incredible.
The softball recruits watched the Tiger Walk from our office building balcony – and so did my parents and I. It’s pretty much the best view you can get on game day!

And of course for the Thanksgiving 2018 finale… LSU vs. Texas A&M! Mom and dad got a taste of what it’s like to sit in the football recruiting section (which at LSU is right beside the sororities/fraternities… so there was some colorful language…). We obviously had a little fun with it and stayed warm! Honestly, the game was a bit of a blowout the first half so we only stayed until halftime. By that time the temperature was dropping and we wanted to beat traffic. We had a LONG day!
LSU truly has an incredible stadium with a reputation that precedes it. It’s one of the loudest I’ve ever been in (I think Penn State has that cake so far). My first time in this stadium was 2014 against Mississippi State… the year Dak Prescott led the Bulldogs to the #1 spot for awhile. Even though I was pulling for the Dawgs that year (boys make you do stupid things, sorry y’all) I can’t knock that environment. I was really excited for my parents to get to experience it, too! Not to mention my dad always talks about how cool he things the tiger eye is at mid-field. I loved that he got to see that in person!

Dad got himself an LSU hat and sweatshirt thanks to yours truly too. Never underestimate the things that dads are willing to do for their daughters! I know this hurt him… (he hates the SEC!)

I hope y’all enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday as much as we did! Not only did LSU beat Texas A&M and I got to spend a great long weekend with my family… but my alma mater took down the evil empire too! Yep, that’s right. Texas Tech beat UT on their on turf. But of course they couldn’t make it easy on my dad and I. They had to cut it close and keep our blood pressures at the roof. But I’ll take it! Happy Holidays everyone!



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