College GameDay made another appearance at Autzen last Saturday morning and I was totally down for another mellow camping trip outside the set. Little did I know the hell that was to unfold during the wee hours of Halloween morning 2009...
My sign was all ready and my friend and I were all set to go. We parked in front of my chemistry teacher's house on Forrester off of Coburg and hiked about a mile to the stadium. We were in about the 15th spot in line around 10pm; a line that went from the the gate near the Casanova center and ended up at 5am behind the south side of the Moshofsky Center.
Our initial group was awesome. We were behind former QB walk-on Robbie Pestal and a few of his friends. In front of him was a group of students including that guy that kissed Kelly during GameDay with the red, white, and blue headband. They had our backs and assured us that no line cutters would be jumping to the front. We had a great time thowing a ball around and just chilling. It started to rain lightly around 2am.
As the line grew, we had to be more defensive about our position. It was a problem that people would walk through the gate, strike up a conversation with a friend in the front of the line, and just stay there. We had to squeeze the zit a few times. People like the Green Man and the yellow storm trooper guy figured they deserved a place in front because they had cool costumes on. 3am is when it really started to go downhill. At about this time, the line was to the Mo Center front door. It was impossible to make it to the Porta-Potties and back without getting pushed around by the back of the line. Things began to get out of hand.
Suddenly, at around 4am, the back of the line just collapsed. By this, I mean that from the locker room tunnel back, everyone bum rushed the now locked gate my friend and I were still 15 spots from. It was absolute pandemonium; pretty similar to being in the pit at a Metallica concert. You had no where no move and you couldn't get out if you wanted to. People were vomiting right next to me. I had to pee REALLY bad. Some dumbass in Daisy Duke jeans scaled the fence and did some inebriated acrobatics for us. We stood like that for about an hour and a half before a cop showed up and said that if we tried to push our way through when they opened it, they were going to shut it again...didn't work.
As soon as that gate was opened just a trickle, the back of the line started to push. It felt like getting crushed into a wall by a slowly moving bulldozer. I seriously couldn't breathe...a guy next to me was screaming in agony because his arm was being torqued behind his back in an inhuman manner by the relentless crowd behind him.
The people that made it through the Autzen fence rushed to the orange home depot barriers. The top side was shaped like a trapezoid and only the people on the top side got to go into the pit of the set. I was lucky enough to get stuck on the left side right up against the fence. I still got to get my sign on the show but waited all night for nothing because people that showed up an hour before still managed to make it into the pit.
The lack of crowd control was almost the cause of the death of a couple people near the front of the line who were close to being trampled and suffocated, myself included. I urge the university to review the way they handle such events as GameDay for the safety of the spectators involved.