My husband and I both graduated from East Carolina University, and for most of our married lives have bought football season tickets. For years, we purchased a package of five, taking our three daughters, encouraging them to become faithful little Pirates.
Two of the three grew up and graduated from ECU. One chose the other Carolina.
Times have changed, but my husband and I are still choosing to be in the stands, cheering on the Pirates in person. We’re happy to be back in the stadium after last year’s Covid shutdown. We’ve long since traded in our family pack of five cheap-seat tickets for two on the alumni side. These days our seats come with backs on them, and we’re surrounded by more “mature,” shall we say, fans.
We’ve also got a good view of the Pirate head that blows out the purple smoke, followed by the team running out on the field.
Purple and gold (yellow is acceptable) are the school colors. I never seem to get the memo, but there’s an apparel color suggestion for each game. Standing in line at the gate, I soon figured out purple was what fans were supposed to wear at this last home game.
That day, I had on my gold (yellow) Polo shirt with the monogrammed Pirate logo and what I call my Pirate shoes, worn only to warm fall football games, which is always nearly every game.
We beat Tulane that day, 52-29. It was a great day to be a Pirate, especially there in the stadium. You can watch a game at home on TV, but there’s nothing like being in the stands when your team enters the red zone at your end of the field. I find myself on my feet, screaming for a touchdown.
The football team doesn’t always win, of course, especially in recent years, but the band never loses. My husband goes down at halftime to meet his cousin and hash over what’s happened so far, but I stay and watch the Marching Pirates before hitting the concession stand.
Purple and gold may be the colors of the Pirates, but our fourth-quarter flags, brought out before the beginning of the last quarter, are a deep red. I love the “No Quarter” Pirate phrase, just one part of all things Pirate.
Yes, there’s a lot that can be done with a Pirate theme. The students sit in an area called The Boneyard, there’s a film clip from Pirates of the Caribbean that plays on the Jumbotron telling us to “hoist the colors” when we raise our Pirate flag at the beginning of the game, our mascot is dressed as–what else, a Pirate,–you get the idea.
My girls may be grown and gone, but there’s a little Pirate fan who sits in front of me every game. Maybe he’ll go from being in the stands to being in a classroom on campus one day. He seems to love being a Pirate right now; as his cape says, he’s “Bad to the Bone.”