Cowgirl at USF (cont.)
Posted: Tuesday September 12, 2006 12:24PM; Updated: Tuesday September 12, 2006 3:01PM
Once halftime was over, and the H.O.T. (Herd of Thunder Marching Band) left the field, I made my way over to the student section where I met Brittany and a huge group of fans dressed in body paint and, well, little else. Many had names painted on their back while others wore grass skirts and aviator glasses, but all had horns.. HUGE PLASTIC HORNS. Not exactly cowboy hats, but it worked.
It turns out the Beef Squad had a pretty elaborate history even in the small amount of time the program has been in existence. What was once four guys in towels and some body paint is now almost 50 members and counting, of all shapes and sizes.
"Each member adds a different dimension to the group," Brittany said, "and we want anyone that has an intense passion for the game and for the Bulls. Because that is why we are all here. And if people are out walking around tailgating and don't have enough school colors on, you better believe we are going to add a bit of our own. We'll paint anyone who wants to be painted. A little green and gold never hurt anyone."
The Beef Studs even convinced USF president Judy Genshaft to get painted for the pep rally that was aptly called "The Round Up." They all were kind enough to pose for some pictures with me, and tried to improve my sad excuse for "Horns," which unfortunately sometimes mistakenly became a different hand gesture. My bad.
By the end of the night, I almost felt at home: People cursing their offensive coordinator, the bands battling back and forth, and a near full student section standing in nothing but green and gold. I was still a little disappointed about not making it to the big game in Austin, but I wouldn't have traded my fan experience at USF for the world.
It was great to see how far the football program has come since I left for Tallahassee. I told my mom and dad, who have been loyal season ticket holders, that I understood why they kept coming back after all these years. It was all about the game, the experience, and the chance to be a part of it all.
Maybe now you will think twice about laughing when you see South Florida on your team's schedule. While the program is young and still finding its roots in the Big East, the Bulls have shown they can play with anybody. They have spunk and heart, as well as loyal and dedicated fans. The offense has some up-and-coming talent in quarterback Matt Grothe and wideout Taurus Johnson, who put on a pretty impressive display when he burst past five Panther defenders for a 29-yard touchdown. The defense was pretty solid, too.
So, haters, save your "U Stay Forever" jokes for someone else. In a few years, USF could mean "Un-Stoppable Football."