So they asked me to give some sage advice to you, the Class of 2015, about how to best go about your sporting experience in college.
Here it is: Go. Go to as many sporting events as you can make – which, if you play your cards right, should be almost every single one of them.
Unless you become insanely rich, your seats in the student section will be the best seats you ever have, and they’ll be virtually free, if not completely. At most schools you’ll be courtside in hoops, field level at football and right on top of the field at every other sport. Even if you aren’t a huge sports fan, being that close to it all is an experience. I don’t like ballet, but if you gave the equivalent of a courtside seat for the Moscow Ballet, I’d be intrigued and captivated.
To the handful of Debbie Downers who inevitably stay in the dorm because they have too much homework or that week’s opponent’s national profile isn’t acceptable to them: get real. Grades are important, but no one is flunking out because they spent a few hours at the stadium living their life. And no matter how bad the opponent is – and the bigger the school, the more pathetic the FCS punching bag that is the home opener becomes – it’s still a college football game played at a reasonably high level of skill. It’ll be exciting, and then it will be 42-0 at halftime. That’s life.
Plus, anything can happen at any time. The loudest and rowdiest I’ve ever seen a stadium was on, of all things, a touchdown that ended up being called back. The home team scooped and scored on a fumble that was eventually overturned. But for that brief fleeting moment where the score was on the board, all hell broke loose. It was pure mayhem. And then it was … gone. Not from memories, though.
Plus, quality opponent or not, you still are going to see things you’ve never seen before. The stands at any college sporting event are something else. In my brief time as a spectator way back when I was a freshman, I saw:
- A kid rolled down the stairs for wearing another team’s colors – by a cop
- An older man ask two police officers where he could smoke and not violate the stadium’s no-smoking policy and be told to just do it in his seat.
- A kid bring a gigantic stuffed tiger he had won at the state fair and noose it up, swaying it back and forth the entire night
- Multiple fights.
It’s a jungle out there, but a fun one.
So yeah, that’s all I’ve got for you. Just go to the games. Go early, tailgate, walk around the stadium once to take it all in, tailgate some more and head in.
You only get (you hope) four years in college. Use up each minute you get. You never know when the one great moment is going to happen.