Going into Saturday’s matchup against Ohio State, the Purdue University Boilermakers football team found themselves in the cellar of the Big Ten with a conference record of 0-3 and a 1-6 overall record, but you wouldn’t be able to tell that by the pregame festivities in West Lafayette. Before every home game, Boilermakers of legal drinking age participate in the Breakfast Club, in which students, alumni and fans don outlandish costumes and head to the bars to begin drinking at 7 a.m., and then this happens:
As a diehard college football and Buckeye fan, I had to experience this first hand, so I took advantage of Ohio State traveling to West Lafayette to see the game, and partake in one of the traditions that sets college football apart from all other sports. Below is my chronicling of Purdue’s Breakfast Club:
5:30 a.m. – The alarm goes off, and just as I am wondering why I could ever get up this early on a Saturday, I remember the reason is really the only acceptable one out there; to consume excessive quantities of alcohol and watch football.
6:00 a.m. – I exit the shower (yeah it takes me a half hour to shower; move on) and I proceed to wake up my fellow breakfast clubbers. Just as they begin to question their decision to join me on this excursion, I shove a red bull and vodka in their face to calm their sleep-deprived indecision.
6:30 a.m. – The time to suit up is upon us. For me, that means squeezing into a slightly undersized Tigger costume and getting into character.
6:55 a.m. – We arrive at the bars with little time to spare. As we deliberate our plan of attack, we are met in the parking lot by some friendly Boilermaker faithful whose pre-Breakfast Club festivities have clearly put ours to shame. They offer us some powdered donuts (apparently you can take breakfast pastries from strangers) and attempt to guess our costumes before lending some bar advice. They overcame their intoxication to lead us to Jake’s, but not before guessing that this man was dressed as a fortune cookie.
And don’t worry, kids. Mr. McGibblets was not harmed in the taking of this photo.
7:05 a.m. – $3 Screwdrivers?! Yes, Please!
7:38 a.m. – Costumed bar-goers continue to flood into Jake’s. The Amish (initially confused for Mumford & Sons), superheroes, cats, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs were all represented.
7:43 a.m. – The screwdrivers have caught up with us. Myself and the aforementioned “fortune cookie” head to the men’s room (we just had to go at the same time, okay. It’s not like I asked him to go with me). We are forced to wiggle out of our costumes in order to use the facilities (that’s all the detail you’re getting; this isn’t an anatomy class), and our Ohio State jerseys are exposed. We are confronted by Andy Reid himself and locked in the bathroom. We’re busted. The Kansas City Chiefs head coach says we must finish our drinks in order to leave. I look down at the daunting task of chugging three-fourths of my screwdriver and back at Coach Reid. His walrus-inspired mustache is not phased. I chug it all and leave the restroom with a boost of confidence, vitamin C and vodka.
8:15 a.m. – We travel across the street to Brothers. Not sure if this at all related to the bar in Columbus that share’s its name, but the environment was impressive. The three-level bar was crowded with costume-clad drinkers; so many so, that a duplicate costume was bound to happen.
His slurred speech, inability to locate the camera, and the water in his hand indicate that my fellow Tigger “boilered up” a little too much too early.
8:58 a.m. – Things begin to blur together a little bit from the scene at Brothers at this point. I can tell you that shots were taken, more screwdrivers were consumed and a Where’s Waldo-inspired photo was taken in the large crowd. I know this thanks to the photos below.
9:15 a.m. – The time has come to make the long hike toward Ross-Ade Stadium to partake in some more traditional pre-game festivities. The grill is waiting at the tailgate to provide some much-needed burgers and bratwursts. The trip over wasn’t totally uneventful, though. Apparently some people are hard-wired to run and hide when they hear police sirens; even if those sirens are merely escorting the football team to the stadium.
9:27 a.m. – The Purdue Breakfast Club experience is officially over, as we arrive at the tailgate.
There have been been talks recently that Purdue and West Lafayette city officials are conspiring to kill Breakfast Club, which would be an absolute shame. It is traditions like these that make college football the most immersive fan experience out there, and I hope that in years to come I will be able to make the trip back to West Lafayette, dress in a costume and get rowdy with Boilermaker fans before the sun comes up.
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