Mizzou 51, Vanderbilt 28: A trip diary

Frederick Breedon

Your intrepid reporter documents his weekend trip to the Vanderbilt game with food, football, shopping, and puppies.

6:30 Stumble out of bed and into shower. Get clean. Dry off.

6:45 Realize shorts that I want to wear are in the hamper. Put on temporary clothes. Give the offending shorts a quick, half-measure hand wash and toss in the dryer with Mizzou polo and other clothes from the washer.

7:00 Ingest large quantities of Sister Schubert sausage rolls. So, so good.

7:15 Begin packing. Realize that AlaWife already has all of her stuff piled neatly on her side of the bed waiting for me. Decide to verify parking information first. Get some more stuff laid out. Decide my temporary shorts will be the ones I’ll wear on Sunday, so hold off on finishing packing.

7:30 Begin puppy proofing the house by covering up the oriental rug in the living room with a clear tarp. We meant to do this Friday night, but were just wiped out from the week at work. So we move most of the furniture off, lay down the tarp, lift the sofa up to slide it under, cut the excess length, lay that strip down to make up for the lack of width, and tape it all.

8:00 Decide the puppy gates can wait until we get back on Sunday.

8:02 Mention that I could shower again. AlaWife just looks at me.

8:03 Grab clothes out of dryer. Put on Mizzou Polo and shorts. Finish packing. Load car.

8:15 Grab dog, bed, and toys and head to dog boarding. Drop off dog.

8:30 Head north on I-65.

9:30 Pass exit for breeder. AlaWife waves in general direction of puppy and tells her we’ll get her Sunday.

9:40 AlaWife pulls out ziplock bag with remaining sausage rolls and hands me some. I bless her repeatedly and scarf them down.

10:00 See Saturn V rocket at the rest area for the southbound lanes. Almost at the state line.

10:10 Pit stop at rest area in Tennessee.

11:25 Arrive at Husk early for our lunch reservation. See a parade of Bloody Mary and Shiner Bock go by. Turns out it is one of their signature drinks.

11:35 I order a Bloody Mary – no Shiner Bock necessary. AlaWife orders some other cocktail.

11:40 AlaWife comments on how she really likes the art work. We look closer and notice one painting is by the same artist as a painting we won at a charity auction. No wonder we like it. Start to wonder if I got an even better deal on the painting than I thought.

11:45 Starters arrive. I have the best biscuits and sausage gravy that I’ve ever had. AlaWife has some delicious oysters.

12:00 Main courses arrive. Steak and eggs with sausage and potatoes. Excellent. AlaWife's shrimp and grits were also very good.

12:20 Head for Green Hills Mall. Drop AlaWife off by The Container Store. Begin fruitless search for parking anywhere near the store. End up at the other end of the mall by Dillards. At least the space is covered. By the time I get to The Container Store, AlaWife has already selected a wine rack. It looks good, will hold what we need it to hold, and is on sale. Victory! AlaWife, however, has just begun.

2:15 Collapse in exhaustion outside Nordstrom. AlaWife gives me the two more things signal. Thankfully, they are mercifully brief. Get car, pull into pickup slot in front of The Container Store. Load wine rack. Head for hotel.

2:50 Broadway is packed. Mizzou fans are everywhere. Properly logo’d gold shirts save some folks who jaywalk in front of me.

2:55 Check into hotel. Clerk asks what brings us to Nashville, and then asks us who we are supporting. I look at my shirt in surprise. AlaWife cheerfully answers. Clerk says, "Everybody who is staying here is rooting for Mizzou."

3:00 Enter room, unpack, open laptop, check RockMNation, flip between games on the TV. AlaWife opts for the power nap.

5:00 Head for stadium. AlaWife is shocked and disappointed that beer is not sold in the stadium. "Football without beer?" Traffic on Broadway and West End is heavy. Lots of people apparently don’t know where they are going, which leads to some white knuckle moments. Once we turn onto campus at 25th Street, things go very smoothly. We zip into the parking garage at 25th and Jess Neely, which is about a block away from the stadium. As we walk to the stadium, the Vandy band comes by. Their uniform tops are t-shirts. All the Mizzou fans in the vicinity are appalled.

5:30 As we enter the stadium, AlaWife sees rental stadium seats for $6 each. She quickly grabs two. I complement her later for her wisdom and foresight.

5:35 We stop by the concession stand. Three hot dogs, one nachos, and two waters. Everything is $4 so the math is easy. $24 and off to our seats we go.

5:38 We get to our seats. They are fabulous – about 20 rows up at the 40 yard line. Rental seats seem to be wider than the allocated space for us on the bleachers. We shrug, and then proceed to enjoy our cushions and seatbacks.

6:00 Vanderbilt fans on our right comment to one another about the number of Mizzou fans in the stands. They never say boo to us. On our left is a couple that was well into their 80's. In front of them is the aunt of #77 for Vandy. We have a pleasant conversation with her. More Mizzou fans continue to pour into our section.

6:35 Kickoff!!! Mizzou faces a potential three and out on the first series. The Vandy faithful are fired up. Josey gashes the Vandy D for 20 yards on a perfectly executed speed option. Two plays later, Mizzou is in the end zone. I called the TD while the ball was still in the air. Mizzou fans are going nuts. Vandy fans are stunned. The Mizzou D forces a three and out, and Mizzou marches back down the field. The drive stalls, and I tell AlaWife that while our kicker has quite the leg, accuracy is the issue. He calmly proceeds to split the uprights. Kentrell keeps the turnover streak alive. On the next play, the ball looks like it slips out of the hands of Franklin, but then it lands in Eric Waters' hands for the touchdown. 17-0.

2nd Quarter AlaWife asks me how often a team wins when it has a 20 point lead at the end of the first quarter. Where is Bill C. when I need him? With thoughts of the RMN denizens invoking COTG, I hazard a probably conservative 3 out 4 times guess. More fun ensues, even with the multiple penalty assisted Vandy scoring drive.

Halftime It is still warm in the stadium, and I am very thirsty, so I brave the halftime rush for beverage and restroom. I hit the concession line first. After i've moved up a few places, I realize that I am in the Commodore Card line. I don't know if they'll take cash too, but I don't want to risk it. So I bail and hit the restroom. The line is lengthy but fast moving and 95% Mizzou fans. MIZ cheers break out in the head. I go back to concessions, and the lines are just as long or longer. They are crawling. As I stand in line, I realize that I need more food and more water and I mentally increase my order. Finally I get to the front of the line. Three waters and a hot dog - $16 more. I get to the top of the ramp just before kickoff. By the time I'm back in my seat I've missed a play.

3rd Quarter The total domination as moved to more of a back and forth affair, but Vandy never really makes up any ground, as Mizzou always answers. AlaWife says, "We'll see this place clear out pretty soon." Surprisingly, the Mizzou fans behind us left. I can't imagine that they had anything better to do than watch this game.

4th Quarter The 48 yard dagger to LDW is a thing of beauty. I am ecstatic. We watch time run out. We tell #77's aunt that it was a pleasure sitting by her. She thanks us for being gracious unlike the drunks from Ole Miss. Apparently the owner of the tickets we purchased via StubHub never attends games. We wish each other well for the remainder of the season, except she adds the caveat, "Unless you end up playing Alabama."

Postgame We pass the baseball stadium as we walk back to the garage. It looks to be extremely nice. Exiting the garage is easy. The crowds on Broadway downtown are heavy and full of jaywalkers. The last two blocks take as long again as the rest of the trip. We head to the hotel sports bar for some late night beer and grub. The half order of nachos AlaWife orders could feed four. Back in the room, I read RMN until I finally wind down and head for bed.

Too early the next morning Awaken, shower, dress, pack. Our breakfast place, Marche Artisan Foods, opens at 9:00 and doesn't take reservations. I have sneaking suspicion that we need to get there early.

9:00 Check out and head to breakfast. Pass LP Field. See Chiefs fans tailgating among the Titans fans.

9:10 Arrive at Marche. Looks crowded. Drop AlaWife off to get table while I park. The hostess only seats her when I enter. Five minutes later all tables are full. The line will grow while we eat.

9:12 Look at menu. See poutine. Think of Wan waxing poetic about poutine. Put down menu. Waitress comes. I order the poutine. AlaWife orders the savory crepe. Both are delicious.

9:50 Head to Trader Joe's. Get caught in a bit of stadium traffic as we prepare to do the Interstate shuffle - 24 to 40 to 65 to 440. At Trader Joe's, I am disappointed by the lack of dark chocolate peanut butter cups. I pick up some milk chocolate mini peanut butter cups as a consolation prize.

10:40 Begin trip home with the puppy detour.

11:15 Pit stop at Shell station at exit 22. Run into two couples wearing Mizzou shirts. They watched the Vandy game, were headed to Destin for the week, and then to Athens for the Georgia game. A solid plan, if I say so myself. I harassed the one member of party wearing a Billiken shirt.

12:53 Arrive at the breeder and pick up puppy. She is just as adorable as we remember.

2:05 Arrive home. Unload car. Assemble puppy gates. Play with puppy while AlaWife gets dog from boarding. Dog comes sprinting into the house, gets petted by me, and trots into the living room, where he sees puppy and gives a WTF? bark.

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