At my first football tailgate in 2012, I painted an orange and green tribal print on my face. I wore a torn up, beaded game day shirt, a bandana and an excessive amount of party necklaces. I was decked out. I left that game with swollen feet, a dead phone and a very distinct sunburn pattern that lasted about a week. Three football seasons later, I like to think I know a little better than I did back then. Our ‘Canes are kicking off the season Saturday, and while we can’t control what happens on the field, we can (and will) take ultimate advantage of the hours we have outside the stadium. Don’t be freshman me, and make the most of your tailgate season in the smartest way possible.
1) Eat. Seriously! Make sure you have a good meal before you start your football festivities. It’s SO easy, and can make a huge difference. It will be hot, and if you aren’t well nourished, you won’t feel well.
2) Drink water. People get dehydrated at tailgates almost regularly- don’t let that be you! You will sweat, so keep yourself hydrated with more than just, well, not water.
3) Sunscreen is your best friend. Avoid a sunburn like mine and protect yourself from the sun! Let’s be honest: you’re not going to re-apply every few hours. So at least make sure you lather it on before you leave.
4) Invest in a portable battery. It’s not that expensive and will save you (and your mom) a headache when your phone dies. It’s always a good idea to have a backup, especially because Snapchat, Instagram, iMessage and your camera will most likely take your cell from 100 percent to 20 before the game even starts.
5) Your thin, lightweight phone case won’t cut it. Get a sturdier piece of plastic to protect your cell and avoid annoying cracked screens and water damage. Don’t have time to go out and buy one? Put your phone in a plastic sandwich bag!
6) Go with a group! Round up your best friends and stick together. The last thing you want is to get lost, alone, in the dark with a dead battery. Implement a buddy system!
7) Wear comfortable shoes. Sneakers are your best bet. With so many people in such a relatively cramped space, your toes will get stepped on. Stay away from sandals, and don’t wear your favorite pair of white Converse. They won’t be white by the end of the game.
8) The less things you carry, the better. All you need is your phone, your ID and Cane Card, some cash, your keys and that portable battery we talked about earlier. The stadium doesn’t allow bags anyway, unless they’re tiny or transparent, so whip out the free lanyard and wallet you got at CaneFest and wear it around your neck. Stuff the rest in your pockets and be careful. Check that you have everything every few hours.
Enjoy the game, Hurricanes! Stay until the end, sing the alma mater, learn the chants and dance to “In the Air Tonight” with your roommate. These classic football season memories will stay with you for a lifetime.
Veronica is a senior majoring in Journalism. She wants to pursue a career in magazines after she graduates and is currently Managing Editor of DistractionMagazine.com. She enjoys the beach, Cuban coffee, and anything Beyonce- related. Follow her on Twitter at @veee_low.
words_veronica lopez. photos_ yili wu.