It was a warm day as fans filled Capital One to watch the annual Maryland football Spring Game for the first time in over a year on Saturday.
As the countdown to kickoff wound down, children jumped around while climbing along the bleachers and leaving concession stands grasping chicken fingers, soft pretzels and hot dogs.
Since 2001, the football team plays its Spring Game on Maryland Day that has become a tradition that connects the team with the community.
After a year without the annual scrimmage due to the coronavirus pandemic, being at this year’s game meant even more to many fans, especially some younger ones.
For nine-year-old Zoey and six-year-old Zaiya Brooks, coming to Maryland Day means cheering on the football team, playing lots of fun games and supporting their father, Maryland running backs coach Elijah Brooks.
“I love coming to see my dad and playing the games [on Maryland Day],” Zoey said.
Although her mother describes her as a “daddy’s girl,” Zoey decided ahead of the game that she would be cheering for both teams even if her father coached the Red team.
Another thing Zoey is happy about this year is just enjoying the time outside with her family. With school being virtual this year, the time away from the screens on campus feels even more valuable.
“It feels great to be here,” Zoey said. “I’m excited to get the fresh air.”
For other young fans, like eight-year-old Morgan and her five-year-old brother Adrian this Maryland Day is their first at the Spring Game but that doesn’t mean they were not excited to be in the stadium.
“It feels good to be here. I’m excited to watch the football,” Morgan said ahead of the game.
Although neither Morgan nor her brother came into the stadium with a particular team in mind they hoped to cheer for, when they arrived that quickly changed.
“I like the white team because that’s my favorite color,” Adrian said.
Morgan, on the other hand, elected to cheer for red. However, the siblings said they were just excited to watch the Terps play in person with their parents.
Similar to Morgan and Adrian, the Giove family was excited to cheer on the Terps in person together.
Hailing from Damascus, Maryland, the Gioves make the one-hour trip every spring to make it to this event and describe it as part of their family tradition.
Sporting their best Maryland gear, including a football jersey signed by Testudo, the Giove’s were happy to be supporting the Terps in person after a year spent in front of the television.
Joseph Giove’s two oldest boys, 10-year-old Joey and seven-year-old Jack, both said it “feels awesome” to be back at Capital One after such a long time away.
“It feels awesome to be back since I couldn’t be here last year,” Jack said. “Feels like a long time.”
“And it’s a tradition,” Joey added enthusiastically.
However, a trip to the Spring Game is not complete without their eight-year-old sister, Lucy.
Wearing her Maryland cheerleader uniform, Lucy was relieved to be back at Capital One with her brothers and father.
Although she finds it challenging to wear a mask throughout the entirety of the game, she thinks it’s worth it if it means seeing the Terps play in person, especially after a long year.
“Watching on tv just isn’t enough for me,” Lucy said. “I know I have to wear a mask but it’s good to be back.”