This is the 10th installment of Cajun Tomato’s NYC 100, a daily series chronicling my experiences and observations as a new New Yorker. You might have noticed it’s been a few days since I posted one of these. I have been without Internet this week. Translation: Sucks to be me.
Surrounded by the kings, queens, princes, and princesses of New Brunswick Saturday morning in the parking lot outside Rutgers’ football stadium, I did what any self-respecting Cajun would. I declared “Mardi Gras in Jersey” and poured myself a concoction I will call “Cran Drank”. Then I poured myself another.
I arrived at High Point Solution Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey, a stone’s throw from New Brunswick, around an hour before the kickoff of Rutgers’ football contest against Syracuse. My friend, Robert Zullo, a self-proclaimed King of New Brunswick persuaded me earlier in the week via text message to partake in the “full Zullo experience” before the game’s noon kickoff.
Alas, “Mardi Gras in Jersey” and the “full Zullo experience” collided to create a perfect storm.
“Mardi Gras in Jersey” and the “full Zullo experience” resulted in me: A) losing my ticket in the parking lot, B) nodding off for parts of the first quarter and a half, and C) irritating a Rutgers fan with my 110-decibel clapping in the third quarter to the point he told me I was “hurting his ears.”
Yes, I damaged a Rutgers fan’s ears clapping for Rutgers. Or so he said. I didn’t know they made pansies in Jersey. (To be fair, that should be pansy, singular.)
I admittedly know little about Jersey or its pansy-making ways. Saturday marked my second time there. The first involved me being smuggled there in a yogurt truck.
I gained admittance to Saturday’s game without my printed ticket courtesy of my iPhone and my email. Once inside the stadium, I adopted Rutgers as my own. I waved a red Rutgers T-shirt like a “terrible towel” – the Pittsburgh Steelers’ trademark show of enthusiasm. I cheered. I clapped like thunder. I danced Gangnam style, the ultimate show of Scarlet Knights’ fandom circa 2012.
In the fourth quarter, Zullo, his girlfriend Julia, and I moved from the Rutgers side to behind the Syracuse bench … literally three rows behind the Syracuse bench near the 50-yard-line. Apparently, the fans who had inhabited the seats earlier were comfortable in Rutgers’ lead, even though it was a close game.
No complaints. Rutgers stayed unbeaten and I survived “Mardi Gras in Jersey”. Plus, the “full Zullo experience” lived up to the hype. New Brunswick’s royalty knows how to throw down on the grill and throw back booze … before and after the game. They were Saturday’s true MVPs.
The 11th installment of Cajun Tomato’s NYC 100 will be posted Thursday. Maybe … Internet willing.