For University of Miami Football fans, Tallahassee, FL is a place you’ll end up traveling to eventually—whether you like it or not. When the date for our game against our rival Florida State is announced, you may decide to plan a road trip with friends, or you might get convinced to drive up to Tallahassee last minute. Either way, our annual, rival game makes Tallahassee the mecca for Hurricane Football enthusiasts one day every other year. Here are some tips that might help you leave Tallahassee as a veteran rather than a victim.
1. Know what you’re getting yourself into.
There’s a reason Tallahassee veterans call the experience a simulation— nothing feels real. Time is warped and impossible to keep track of. You’ll have cold pizza for breakfast, spend two hours in line at Pots and another six hours crammed into Tenn. Yet, somehow, it will still feel like it’s only been an hour since you woke up.
2. Find a reliable ride there and back.
Your party animal, chemistry partner may seem like a good candidate, but if she’s showing up hungover to your 9 a.m., she’s going to be too hungover from Saturday night to split the seven to nine hour drive home on Sunday. Also, your dad’s old Honda Accord isn’t the car you want to make the trip in unless you plan on pushing it up the turnpike.
3. Stay hydrated.
No, White Claw doesn’t count. Skol counts even less.
4. Emergen-C and Pedialyte are your best friends.
Three things are certain in this world. Death, taxes and acquiring an illness from what’s notoriously known as “The Nasty.” Maybe it’s something in the air, or maybe it’s because you passed your Juul around Bajas. Regardless, you will get sick. Think of it as a rite of passage.
5. Check the weather.
This year, the infamous celebration of “Talloween” coincided with game day weekend, which means you probably dressed up. However, maybe a bodysuit and fishnets weren’t the move for 40 degree temperatures. Don’t forget Tallahassee, unlike Miami, actually has weather that changes, and sitting in an open-air stadium in a crop top and shorts definitely makes the game less enjoyable than it should be.
6. Find somewhere to watch the game.
Unless you got tickets, you probably will have to find somewhere to watch the game, whether it’s at your friend’s apartment (make sure your friends have cable—they probably don’t) or at a bar or club. Places like Standard, or, as it’s known colloquially, Derd, project the game on the wall for the whole club to see. Pro tip: be nice to the bartenders and they might give you free drinks with your order for every touchdown Miami scores.
7. Beware of angry fans.
It’s game day and you’re deep in enemy territory sporting your very conspicuous, tailgate gear. You will get heckled. Whether it be by FSU fans who pass you, or are in line behind you to go to the seedy bathroom wherever you end up watching the game. Most fans are harmless, but do not expect their loss to humble them. For every three angry ‘Noles they’ll be a kind ‘Cane in the same boat as you. Look for orange and green, and practice the buddy system—most FSU fans are afraid of big numbers.
8. Keep an open mind.
A trip to Tallahassee is a profound experience. It’s not for the weak-hearted. Maybe you aren’t used to the pounding house music predominant at every club, the inexhaustible energy of its inhabitants who seem to run on fumes and Smirnoff, or the visceral intensity of FSU fans. None of this matters. Go to the clubs and dance, wake up early to tailgate, make peace with the ‘Noles around you. Savor Miami’s victory. At the end of it, Tallahassee will spit you out battle-hardened and you will be better for it (but thank goodness next year is home game).
words_lauren simpson, photo_jenny hudak