Our first Boulevard of the year! What a thrill it was to see the tents lined up once again, our friends and families gathered sociably together, mixing and mingling, the small children running and playing in the grass, the meats grilling and dogs barking and live music playing! Anything can happen out there, and one will often come away having experienced some unique surprises if only you just show up. That’s what they say about life, after all, isn’t it? 90 percent of it’s just showing up. And after showing up to campus on Saturday, I can tell you I was not disappointed by the day’s affairs.
A good Boulevard, of course, begins with a good brunch. A delicious and revitalizing ritual of mimosas and eggs or whatever people get. I enjoyed that new place down on Hillcrest, the Biscuit Bar, which I recommend if you haven’t tried it yet. Their biscuits and gravy are to die for. This was at an early hour, around 12 or so, and I saw a great array of youthful and beautiful faces there around me. Great minds think alike! But after your breakfast–sorry, brunch–I hope you kept your refreshments of choice flowing because the Boulevard started around 4, at least that’s when I showed up, and you wanted to be in a good state of mind and well hydrated to wander around under the burning sun. Everyone was wearing white–a “whiteout,” I hear they call it. (I was wearing khaki shorts, close enough).
In the weeks leading up to this momentous occasion, I somehow got it into my head that the Boulevard might be ruined by its expansion to that other street, you know, between the statues of the horses and Doak Walker. But this expansion turned out quite nicely. The actual Boulevard street was alive and well, quite vibrant in fact, with all the alumni and parents and those perhaps not interested in the talented musical stylings of Elephante (who was very enjoyable, even to myself, a hesitant fan of EDM), and the event’s official expansion to the other street allowed us another area in which to socialize and enjoy this live music performance. Most of the young faces were over there, and so that’s where I was–though I did stop in to check out the new Indoor Performance Center before I was kicked out. It was hosting tables for a select group of alumni, but the place looks pretty damn good and that was the first chance I had to look in there, so it’s nice to see that the center turned out so well.
But aside from the new athletic center and Elephante, who played a great show, the whole day was just a blast. A real communal feeling was in the air, which is so rare outside of something like church or city or family events, with parents, alumni, families, and students all milling around interacting and having a good time with friends and strangers alike. And it’s so important to appreciate the experience of spending time with those who live around us, as I look back now, because it really is rare and because it reinforces our sense of community–of shared values and spaces and of all being tied up in each other’s lives and worlds–and that’s what it is, after all, our Boulevard tradition. A communal celebration of school life, human relationships, and I guess football too. It was rumored that there might have been a game after the Boulevard, but I don’t know much about that. Welcome back, Mustangs.