These instructions are for students to prepare for a college Game Day! There are recommendations for what should be done in the few days before the game and what to do the day of the game. Steps 1 through 7 are recommendations for what you should do in the days leading up to the game. Steps 8 through 15 are recommendations for what you should do on the day of the game.
Step 1: Decide Where to Watch the Game
The first choice to any game day is to decide where to watch the game. You could either attend the game or watch it elsewhere like a sports bar or at home.
Step 2: Make a Plan
Once you’ve decided how to watch the game, you must solidify your plans:
- Finding a Ticket: If you’ve decided to go to the game you must get a ticket. The best time to buy tickets is when they first become available to students usually during the summer prior to football season in order to get the best deal. However if you didn’t do that there are still ways to get a ticket to the game. The best place to start is by asking friends if any of them are selling their tickets. Try looking on Facebook for other students selling tickets. If you buy through this method make sure you pick a safe public meeting place for the ticket/money exchange. Either way if you buy a ticket make sure you are paying a fair price for the ticket. Football ticket prices can vary by college, popularity of the game, and expected weather conditions. Check around to make sure you are not being overcharged and don’t be afraid to negotiate asking price. Warning: Avoid buying tickets from scalpers the day of the game because they are likely overpriced and may not be authentic.
- Finding a Place to Watch: If you have decided not to go to the game, you must decide where else to watch it. If you are not interested in watching it at your own house, trying finding out if any friends are having watch parties or determine a good sports bar nearby to go to. Keep in mind that even if you decided not to go to the game you can still participate in game day activities such as tailgating prior to the game.
Step 3: Finish Work
If you have any homework or real work to finish before the game, do not save it for the weekend. Nothing usually gets done on game days, so if you have anything to accomplish, try hard to not to procrastinate.
Step 4: Plan Where to Tailgate
Regardless of if you are attending the game, you can attend a tailgate! Many student organizations especially in Greek life have tailgates before the game or simply hanging out with friends at home or a bar is fun to do before the game. Once you have decided where to tailgate make sure you know if you need to bring your own food and drinks or if they will be provided.
Step 5: Get Supplies
If you are going to a tailgate or watch party or hosting your own make sure you have food and other non-alcoholic beverages. Popular game day food includes chips and dip, pizza, wings, etc...If you are over 21 and plan to drink the day of the game make sure you have your desired alcohol prior to game day.
Step 6: Learn Game Day Traditions
Almost all colleges have their own traditions and it is imperative to be aware of them in order to get the most enjoyment out of your game day experience. Make sure you learn any important songs such as fight songs and other famous cheers. A simple internet search of [School Name] game day traditions will likely provide you with all the information you need to now.
Step 7: Check Game Time
Many college football game times aren’t finalized until a few weeks before. Make sure you know when the game is in order to plan when to get up and begin your tailgates. For a morning game, plan on getting up about four hours before the start in order to ensure you have enough time to get ready, eat, and tailgate before the start of the game. For afternoon and night games it’s not as important to get up early unless you have other plans for the morning or work to get done.
Step 8: Check the Weather
The condition of the weather will control your actions for the rest of game day. What to wear to the game or the place you are watching, and what you need to take to the game all depends on the weather conditions.
Step 9: Get Dressed the Morning of the Game
Be sure to dress accordingly to the weather.
- Cold / Snow: On cold game days it is vital to dress warm because you will be outside for several hours. On top, wear a cozy t-shirt as first undergarment. Then wear a warm and thick long sleeved shirt on top. Next, layer a sweatshirt on top. Finish with a heavy winter coat that is ideally made of wind and water resistant material and has a hood to ensure maximum comfort. For bottoms, wear fuzzy leggings/Long Johns under your sweatpants or jeans. Layer two pairs of thick long socks. Wear thick boots that are wind and water resistant. Finally, some useful accessories include: toboggans that cover your ears, thick scarves that cover your neck, thick and fuzzy gloves that are wind and water resistant, hand warmers, and blankets.
- Useful tips:
- Place hand warmers in both gloves and shoes.
- Bring at least 2 blankets. One to wrap around you and one to lay on your seat.
- Bring cardboard and standing on it makes your feet much less cold.
- Layering is very important, if you get too hot you can always take some off.
- Moving around and drinking hot beverages will help you stay warm.
- Useful tips:
- Useful tips:
- Don’t forget sunscreen on warm days even if it is a little overcast you can still get burnt!
- Useful tips:
- Avoid wearing tennis shoes, because your feet will feel soggy and cold.
- Umbrellas are not permitted in the stadium, so do not bring them. Ponchos and rain jackets are much better alternatives.
- Bring towels to wipe down wet seats before you sit down.
Step 10: Things to Remember to Bring to the Game
- Ticket and Student ID
- Poncho / Trash Bag if it rains because umbrellas are not allowed in stadiums
- Hand warmers if it is cold
Step 11: Put Something in Your Stomach
There are 3 main ways to get food on game day.
- Tailgate: If you are going to a tailgate there will likely be food provided but eating something small in advance is always a good idea in case they run out before you get there.
- Make Food: This is by far the most cost effective method. If you are going to a tailgate that has food, you can get away with little to no breakfast. If you don't have much time, eat some cereal.
- Order food: This can come in handy when you started drinking before you thought about food. The food comes directly to you. Although this may be the most expensive way to get your game day meal, it’s best to be safe rather than sorry. (Don’t Drink and Drive)
- Leave to get food: If you haven't ruined your chances of driving to get food, then leaving home to get food isn't a bad option. Just be careful about when your game starts. Traffic usually gets busy around game time, so it is important to leave a good time space to get back. Don’t drive in the 2 hours leading up to the game, or traffic will make the journey unpleasant.
Step 12: Start the Pre-game
- Tailgating: If you are going to a tailgate, you can leave once you are dressed and have all your things together. Tailgates are fun because most of the time, they will have everything you need for a game day already, with little preparation on your part unless you are throwing the tailgate. Refer to “How to throw a Tailgate”.
- To the Bars: If you are headed to the bars before the game, make sure to go early. Seats are hard to get at popular sports bars at any time on game days. So be sure to get your assets in order early, so you can get there and get a table.
- Pre-gaming at Home: If you are preparing for the game at home, then you just need to make sure you leave in time for the game. Set a timer or two and always have a way to the game. Again, DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE!
Step 13: Go to the Bathroom
It is recommended that fans should go to the bathroom before the game. Bathrooms within the stadium usually consist of long waiting lines. Missing parts of the game while waiting in a line to the bathroom can ruin the fan experience while attending a game. If you do have to go to the bathroom during the game try going during halftime or during media timeouts in order to minimize the chance of missing an exciting play.
Step 14: Leave for Game on Time
Whether you are walking or driving, plan accordingly to leave an allotted time to arrive to the game on time. Keep in mind that there are generally large crowds of people and heavy traffic around the stadium area. As a supportive fan, you are expected to participate in pregame activities in the stadium.
Step 15: Enjoy the Game
Have fun and enjoy all that college football has to offer! Make sure you are staying hydrated during the game. Most stadiums will provide water free of charge if you ask.