Monday, September 9, 2013

A North to South Connection

As I left home behind for the fall semester late in August, I realized regretfully that I would be missing something that I have been wanting to see live for a number of years now. Professional Bull Riding--and by the slimmest of margins, too. First, let me digress...yes, a New England-raised girl who listens to nothing but alternative-rock, horseback rides hunter/jumper style, and loves ice hockey also has an ongoing fascination with bull riding. It's the energy, it''s the adrenaline, it's the aggression, and the respect for the powerful, testosterone-ridden animal that make PBR such an exciting sport to follow.
When the news broke early in the summer that the PBR Touring Pro Division would be making a two night stop in Springfield, Massachusetts of all places, I nearly jumped out of my skin with anticipation. This sport usually tours major cities with markets keen to rodeos, frequenting the likes of Oklahoma City, Arlington, Louisville, and Las Vegas. Springfield, a small northern city with liberal roots, was added to the schedule due to the sport's affiliation with MGM Resorts International. The corporation is currently in the process of being approved to build a destination resort casino in the city, and has been actively bringing popular entertainment (like Pitbull and The Commodores) to Springfield's existing venues.
I was completely ready to set aside two nights to stand ringside and watch rough-and-tumble American cowboys like Ryan Dirteater and others hailing from Brazil, Australia, Canada wrangle nearly one ton bulls. However, the event was scheduled to take place on Sept. 6-7, and I was scheduled to fly back to Texas on Aug. 24. So back to Texas I came, and thus began a Boulevarding season which brought a pleasant surprise for me.
This past Saturday, SMU took on Montana State University in Gerald J. Ford Stadium. Before all football games takes place the Mustang tradition of Boulevarding, in which different campus groups and die-heard fans set up tents, grill food, drink, and socialize before the game. Thanks to the Beta Theta Pi, I got my bull riding fix in for the weekend. The fraternity set up a mechanical bull at the pre-game festivities, and attracted many students to try riding the much tamer, less alive bull.
On a day where I was wishing I was home in Massachusetts with friends watching a rodeo event, the people at SMU proved to me how dynamic and lively this school is, and brought in a bull when I wanted to watch them the most!

Friday, September 6, 2013

From Massachusetts to Texas

I'd like to allocate some of this first blog post to introduce myself and briefly explain my point of view. My name is Marian Sullivan, and I am a junior studying Public Relations & Strategic Communication with a minor in Advertising here at Southern Methodist University. Though I am in my third year of college, I consider myself very new to SMU and Dallas. I transferred here in January from a community college in my hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts, where I have been raised for the majority of my life.
That semester was a crash-course in SMU life and culture, and forced my adaptation process along quickly. I adjusted to my demanding course load with the help of new friends and supportive professors, and soon hit my rhythm in my new environment. However I couldn't help but notice the differences around me that set the North and South in truly unique corners.
After growing up in a picturesque New England neighborhood, complete with Cape Cod style houses, rolling green hills, endlessly stretching forest, and blazing autumn foliage, Dallas appeared to be a whole different world. Each beautiful home seems to be constructed a different style from the next, the view for miles is clear and open, and though I've been told Dallas has a humid heat, it's nothing compared to the sweltering humidity back home!
All of those differences were noted during the winter and spring, a time where back home we'd be fully immersed in following a sport we rally around the television I come from a family with a tradition in the sport--my dad, his brothers, their cousins and friends all played while growing up. Both of my brothers played, and many of my male friends. It is one of the few professional sports that I follow religiously, and I've noticed has a very small following here in Texas. Naturally I pledge my loyalty to the Boston Bruins. However due to last season's NHL lockout, the regular season was cut to only 48 games, with teams collectively missing a total of 510 regular season games.
Over last semester I was anxiously awaiting an agreement to be made regarding the lockout. When the puck dropped for the first time that season, I claimed the Moore Hall lounge as my own and tuned into the Chicago Blackhawks game. With the regular season in swing, I was craving Bruins action more than ever. But being so used to tuning into their games at home in Massachusetts, I was disheartened to find that they weren't played on the Dallas networks. But being the fan that I am, I tuned into the Bruin's online radio to listen to every single game and followed the play by ear.
Maybe it's because hockey is "irrelevant," in Texas, as I was told by a friend, or maybe it's simply because we're in a different division than the resident Stars. This time around I'll be listening online and searching for a reliable live stream. I cant wait for hockey to be back for a full season and to root on my B's!