Set away from downtown Nashville, the campus of Vanderbilt is quaint and cozy. The same can be said for First Bank Stadium. Beautifully situated amongst the buildings on campus, the venue does not possess the capacity power of its SEC brethren, but its fanbase is definitely loud and loyal.

The enthusiasm amongst the Vandy faithful is on full display with surrounding lots drenched in fan-filled tents. Vandyville is the tailgating epicenter of pregame which is highlighted by the “Star Walk” – a greatly anticipated tradition in which the team marches through Commodore fans into the stadium. The Spirit of Gold Marching Band leads the exuberance into the stands as they blast “Dynamite” at the onset of the game welcoming the team amongst clouds of smoke. 

When entering First Bank Stadium, the tradition and history of the structure can be sensed despite a continuously developing football program whose fans crave a consistent winner. Living in the SEC isn’t easy when surrounded by traditional powers. But, Vandy has everything in place to be an outstanding program. Most notably, First Bank Stadium is getting a Joan Rivers-sized facelift set to be unveiled in 2024. Fans are thrilled to finally begin seeing some tangible changes to the athletic program. 

The school is named in honor Cornelius Vanderbilt, a shipping and rail baron that donated funds to start the university. His business began by transporting goods and people by ferry in New York City, and his fervor for being on board earned him the name, “The Commodore.” 

Vanderbilt University adopted the nickname and Mr. Commodore, a high ranking Naval officer, has become the mascot. Many other traditions have kept in line with the nautical theme. An anchor has been a symbol of unity and strength at Vanderbilt since 2004. During pregame, this symbol is celebrated with a ceremony at midfield known as “dropping the anchor.” It merges well with Vandy’s battle cry, “Anchor Down.” 

Another gameday ritual is the sounding of The Admiral – an old U.S. Navy foghorn that blasts its sonorous sound after each Vanderbilt score. With a Commodore win, the victory flag is hoisted above the stadium to signal the triumph. It proudly waves for the duration of the following week.

The ingredients are here for the black and gold to ascend the college football mountain. Passion and pride are rooted deeply into the gameday atmosphere. Once the team is able to pick up some winning consistency, the “Dores” will open for this storied program.

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