CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — There’s a friendly hum outside Alumni Stadium, albeit one that doesn’t feel entirely like a football game. There are tents set up along a large grass field. Music is playing, and people are eating and drinking, but it’s not the typical college football sea of humanity.
In the shadow of the buildings of Boston College’s old, traditional campus, it feels like New England, like it doesn’t just mean more.
Sean Jones is still impressed, to an extent. Coming from SEC country, his expectations were low for the atmosphere at Boston College, and the Eagles have cleared his bar.
“It’s more than I expected,” he says.
Jones and his friends usually take one trip a year to whatever away game feels most appealing. Two years ago, that was Wyoming. The six of them made a vacation out of it, going to Yellowstone National Park. They have a similar itinerary this time, having gone to Newport, Rhode Island, earlier in the week. They set Sunday aside for “Boston things,” like the Freedom Trail walk.
Sometimes the game is the only event.
“In Alabama, you don’t go for the city,” he said.
The intrigue of a city not usually on Missouri’s schedule was a common thread among Tigers fans who made the trip out east. Ted Farnen doesn’t travel to away games often. The last Missouri game he attended that wasn’t in Columbia was the 2018 Liberty Bowl in Memphis. But he has family in New England, attended when Missouri played Connecticut in 2017 and jumped at the chance to knock out two things at once. A Missouri school of journalism graduate who worked for the Missourian “a long time ago,” he went to an event put on by the alumni association the night before at a bar near the TD Garden.
Alice and Jimmy Stark also went to Boston for other sporting events. They went to the Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway Park the night before. They’re impressed with the atmosphere — and with none of the caveats that Jones had.
“Boston being such a beer town, I shouldn’t be surprised they know how to party,” Jimmy said.