Al Botta, Director of Road Less Travelled
But for 4 to 6 weekends a year, I convert myself, and relish in the opportunity to sit, stand, yell, scream, and cheer in the stands with some of the greatest fan bases in the world and experience what we know as, the college football experience!!
As an advocate of the greatest sport in the world, I am here to share with you my journey; the Quest to find myself participating as a fan, a writer, and an analyst, at least one time in every college football home stadium. On a daily basis, I am a husband and father of three wonderful boys, and I run a company within an industry I have passion for that is an offshoot of a national bank here in New York City. That all keeps me busy 24 hours a day. But for 4 to 6 weekends (or weeknights) a year, I convert myself from that role, and relish in the opportunity to sit, stand, yell, scream, and cheer in the stands with some of the greatest fan bases in the world and experience what we know as, the college football experience!!
Many years ago, Jarrett Singer explained to me this ridiculous thought that he’d like to do something bigger with his life, something grand, one thing he could be remembered by. I cut him off mid-sentence as he told me this the first time and immediately suggested we should re-open Mo’s Bar and Caribbean on 76th and 2nd in NYC. Then Jarrett told me his idea. Moments later, and without argument from me, the schedule was hatched for the inaugural season of the College Football Quest that included Texas, Northern Illinois, Maryland, and Army. We found very little information on anyone else who had succeeded at this, or even attempted it, so clearly this was right up our alley; an impossible 20+ year task! At the same time, we decided should document our travels in real time onto a website (www.collegefootballquest.com) and eventually into a book or two. I know, you can’t wait to read them!
As fun as the Quest is, it doesn’t come without its twists and turns. Every year, the scheduling becomes more and more complicated as Jarrett travels overseas constantly and I can’t seem to stop reproducing. Trying to find a minimum of 4 weekends a year in the fall where there are no kid activities, no work travel, no Gator games, no vacations, babysitters are available, game locations we can travel to quickly, or haven’t been to yet, or are “allowed” to go to, is almost impossible. <let me just add in here that I am very thankful to have my wife supporting me with my quest, as she is always supportive as long as I order something from Zappos> Add in that we like to pick a few “Game day” type games as we are planning, and you really run into some complications. On top of all that, we really are at the mercy of the conferences releasing their full schedules before we can truly get started and to boot, we have no idea what times most of the games are until the TV schedules are released a few weeks before each game. Whoosh!!! We have to hire an admin for this!! But I’ll tell you, there is no comparison being a couch potato and watching games, versus being at the stadium watching live and in person! Get out there and support your teams!!
You might ask “who are you, and why are you really doing this”? It’s quite simple; I love football, I love the experience, and I really didn’t get enough of it in my earlier years. On top of that, I love to be challenged, and this Quest really is an almost impossible task. I’ve been overly competitive since I was a youngster; no reason for that to let up at this point in my life. And really, if I am successful in doing this with Jarrett, you are really going to have to ask, “Who has it better than us”??? And that makes me feel good!!
In my spare time, I love to cook, golf, and ski, play softball and basketball, and watch anything sports related. I occasionally read a book, but I don’t make a habit out of it. I still play video games, but really only the Madden and NCAA Football series. I spend as much time with my wife and boys as possible; I know that that time goes by too quickly. I love to travel, even if it is for work, but clearly prefer personal trips to international destinations like Venice and Paris, or to warm destinations like St Maarten. I am junk food junkie, and have become addicted to Starbucks Chai Lattes as a result of all this football travel. I’m a big fan of boots, and the different styles of boots we see on the road. I put my sneakers on one foot at a time by the way.
I’d love to share our stories and experience with you via any of the social media outlets we have made available like our website, Facebook page , Twitter handles, blogs, email distribution lists, etc, and perhaps even syncing up with you at a game along the Quest to include you in the experience!!