Where were you yesterday? You do realize that your football team, the Florida Gators, participated in a game against Eastern Michigan at 4:00PM Saturday, right? I know, the first game against the Idaho Vandals was canceled due to bad weather a week prior, but seriously, where were you? And yes, I know your football team had an embarrassing 2013 season going 4-8 and didn’t get invited to a bowl game for the first time since President Jimmy Carter’s administration, but seriously, where were you?
It was just lovely when the television cameras panned to empty seats at kick-off yesterday. At first, I thought they were showing us a shot of William & Mary, but no, it was “The Swamp”! Are you kidding me?
Let me tell you something, students of the University of Florida—you are embarrassing the Gator Nation.
Prior to 1990, the Florida Gators had a few bright spots, but were mainly a mediocre football team. We fans had to sit through plenty of .500 seasons, NCAA infractions, and annual beat downs courtesy of Georgia in Jacksonville at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. You know what? We sold out every game. It didn’t matter how many exams we had the following week. It didn’t matter how hot it was in “The Swamp”. It just didn’t matter—we woke up early Saturday morning, tapped a keg, spent what little money we had on snacks, wings, burgers—whatever, and we, if necessary, stumbled into the stadium to make as much noise and give as much support as we possibly could for our football team. Nothing else mattered, we just did it.
I understand that “The Swamp” doesn’t have proper 4G or WiFi coverage. Damn, what will one do without the ability to take a selfie and upload it to Instagram? No status update to Facebook or tweeting how trashed you are in the 2nd quarter of the game. It’s the end of the digital world as we know it, I get it.
Get over it.
I’m sure AD Jeremy Foley is barking at every cell provider in North Central Florida to upgrade the cell towers, and is looking to put enough WiFi service in the stadium ASAP to appease the students, but in the meantime toughen up and get your butts in the seats. The alumni are doing their part to get their families to the games; all you have to do is ride your bikes, drive your cars, or heaven forbid, walk a mile or so to the stadium.
I graduated from UF over 20 years ago, and we didn’t have social media or the Internet for that matter, so I may be a bit on the outside when I offer advice on how to prepare for game day. Regardless, I feel its necessary to help all of you that still haven’t figured out how to prepare for a Saturday football game in The Swamp.
Ready? Here it goes.
First, since UF has become far more academic than it was when I was there, we must focus first on your classes. Study early and get prepared for the following week’s exams; don’t wait for the last minute. Don’t skip classes, don’t sleep in, live in the library if necessary. Saturday is just one day, and if you stop drinking by 10:00PM Saturday night, you should be able to get plenty of sleep if you feel it absolutely necessary to live in the library the following Sunday morning.
Next, don’t stay out too late Friday night prior. The bars shut down at 2:00AM, but that doesn’t mean you have to be there to close it down. Get your drink on, but get home early enough if necessary to get the proper amount of rest if needed. If you can close the bar, head to another party, and finally crash around 6:00AM to get only a few hours of sleep, then so be it. But it is incumbent upon you to get the proper amount of rest necessary to prepare for Saturday’s game.
Now to Saturday morning. Once you do wake up, it is crucial that you eat a good breakfast before you start drinking. Let me tell you, beer and Cheerios sounds like a good idea, but really it isn’t. Yes, I tried it a few times, so let me save you from that experience now. However, scrambled cheese eggs and beer isn’t too bad. I recommend putting salsa on the eggs, too; it definitely adds to the experience if you choose to pop open that Michelob Ultra while eating said breakfast.
Once you have a good meal in your belly, then commence the party wherever it may be. If you want to head down to University Blvd. or downtown to party with the masses then please go for it. Oh, and yes, the zip lock baggies must be in plentiful supply if you plan on sneaking Captain Morgans or Jack Daniels into the game; I recommend double bagging just to be safe. Whatever you do, make sure you have someone on look-out duty when you begin passing the bag around in the stands to ensure a police officer doesn’t confiscate your booze. One last thing: Don’t participate in a drinking game prior to the game; save it for the after-party.
You can do it, students. You can make the University and the Alumni proud. Get your ass to the home football games. Invest a few dollars on tickets; you can do it. The next time a Gator football game is televised, we better see every seat filled just like they were a few years ago. The 2013 season is over, and yes it was an embarrassment, but it pales in comparison to how much you, the students, are embarrassing the University of Florida with your lack of attendance at our games.
You can live without your iPhones for a few hours. Take your pictures and upload them after the game. Status updates? Update everyone before entering: “Entering The Swamp to watch my Gators kick some serious ASS!”. See, there is an example of what to post prior to walking in. The digital world will survive without you for three to four hours while you cheer the Gators to victory.
Do you need your parents to take your tickets from you, and show you how to do “Football Saturday”? If you are at Florida, then you are pretty damn intelligent; don’t make your Mommy and/or Daddy come to Gainesville to show you how it’s done. They will school you like no professor could ever; trust me.