• December 10, 2019
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On November 2, my family and I went to the Family Weekend football game at UNC Charlotte–the college my older brother attends. With this being my first college football experience, I could only compare it to my times at Leesville’s football games.

Upon arriving on campus, signs decorated the area pointing the way to the stadium and parking. We parked on the first floor of a parking deck around 1 pm; the game didn’t start until 4:30 pm, a drastic change from Leesville’s 7 pm games. 

The hours leading up to kickoff were spent tailgating, another thing that Leesville doesn’t do to the extent that colleges do. White tents and tables covered a grassy field by the stadium. There was a long buffet of food and a bar with unlimited drinks. A DJ covered the whole event; music was blasting through the venue. There was also three blow up bouncy houses for kids to play in.

We were given lanyards with a pass and a wristband as opposed to the handheld tickets we get at Leesville games. My whole family was able to get food and drinks provided by the school and sit at a table all while enjoying the music. 

About an hour and a half into the tailgate, the marching band and dance team walked in and performed for all of the families. The band played upbeat music, and the dance team waved their pom poms to the tune–very similar to a halftime at a Leesvilles football game.

By the time they were done performing, the gates to the stadium opened and everyone filed out of the tailgate up to the entrance. The Jerry Richardson stadium–UNCC’s designated football stadium–has four sides of seating around the field and vendors on the outside. 

For Family Weekend, general admission seating took over the usual student section. At Leesville football games, everyone stands on the bleachers and cheers. At UNCC everyone, including the students, sit down during the game. 

The UNCC football team played against Middle Tennessee State University. The Charlotte 49ers started off strong, taking the lead against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders in the first quarter. 

At the end of the second quarter the score was 24-7 with UNCC still in the lead. The halftime show was very similar to the performance at the tailgate besides the fact that the groups were spread over the whole football field. 

The game resulted in a 49ers win; the final score was 34-20. The stadium cleared out quickly. The game ended with the sun still up, which was very different when compared to Leesville’s 10 pm ending time.

Overall, I didn’t find the UNC Charlotte football game to be any more or less entertaining than a Leesville Football game. UNCC’s obviously larger budget did make it a more comfortable situation, but I always have more fun in the hyperactive student section at Leesville. Being at the Family Weekend game was a different experience from anything else, and I will definitely go again.

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