With fall in full swing and the leaves starting to turn, that can only mean one thing lies on the horizon: football. From passing touchdowns to rushing yards, the excitement of a college football game is hard to beat. But what happens when you scored tickets to the big game and you have to go…alone? It may sound daunting, but it’s actually not as scary as you may think.
Here’s how flying solo at your school’s football games can actually enhance your experience.
1. Best Seats in the House
If you go to a major football university, students undoubtedly pile into a rowdy student section, but of course not before they get in their pregame tailgate. The bright side about going to a football game alone comes when you don’t even have to wait for people to finish drinking to get seats. You can go straight to the stadium as soon as the gates open, step inside and get a front-row seat. These seats are only for the most devoted of fans. It’s a privilege that has to be earned, which means coming to the stadium early.
2. Close to the Players
When you sit in the first few rows, you get an up-close look at the action on the field. When players score a touchdown at the end of a drive, you’ll often see them have their little celebrations or high five other team members, and, sometimes, luck permitting, they’ll jump up into the stands and high five the fans. How awesome does that sound? You get to have a one-on-one conversation with the quarterback before he goes off to score another winning drive—definitely worth stepping into that stadium by yourself.
College football’s a big deal. Like a realllllly big deal. No matter what game during the season, from the worst teams to the best teams, all of the drama will be broadcast on TV. If you have those front-row seats, you’ll get that TV time that so many other students vie for. When I went to the game alone, I was broadcasted on the big screen at the stadium as well as on TV (my mom recorded it). Talk about one of the coolest feelings ever.
Often during timeouts or penalty plays, on-field entertainment shows up to keep the fans happy. At Penn State, we have a couple of things that happen such as the t-shirt toss and the PSECU random bag giveaway. When students sit in the front rows, their chances of winning one of these awesome prizes dramatically increases—which is a lot more than I can say for the nosebleed seats in the student section. From right there on the field? There’s a much better chance you’ll score a shirt that’ll be the perfect size to relax in on your way to class the next week.
5. Pre-Game Show
Alright, this may be just me, but I absolutely love the pre-game show that our marching band does at each game. That could just be because I grew up in a very musically inclined family, so I can appreciate how long it takes to learn the craft of marching and playing an instrument at the same time. When you get to the stadium early, you can sit down and actually enjoy the show, which happens usually at any college game before kickoff.
Often at a tailgate, you arrive at stadium a little later than most and have the be pushed into the stands like a pack of sardines; sort of like a slow entrance that makes anyone want to storm the field to get in as soon as possible. Getting there early and experiencing the show alone is one of the most peaceful feelings you can have at a rowdy football game. Plus, a great performance? That can’t be beaten.
6. Pre-Game Workout
If you are fortunate enough to get to the game earlier than others, you get to see the team workout beforehand. As someone who has become an actual fan of football, seeing the guy’s workout for a good twenty minutes before the game happens to be quite entertaining. Whether just to stare or to actually see how well the team can throw their receptions or use their tackles, watching the workout can be a lot of fun.
7. Primetime Photo’s
As a Penn State student, I do truly believe that no seat in Beaver Stadium has a bad view. You really can see everything from everywhere. But when it comes to those videos of touchdowns right by the end of the field; those are first row seats. When you see the screaming fans jumping up and down from the field; that comes from front row seats. Getting the best seats serve as wonderful memory makers.
8. No Sharing of Food
Anything sold at a football game ensures itself to be expensive. At Penn State, we have this delicious and scrumptious beauty called a chicken basket, and, though you may be willing to pay upwards of 10 dollars for a couple of fries and three tenders in the moment, your wallet definitely won’t be happy once the game ends. Sometimes when you’re with people you end up sharing the food when hardly enough fills one person. When it comes down to stadium food, a student can be better off just eating it by yourself because of how expensive anything in the area has become. And when someone goes to the game alone, you don’t have to worry about friends picking off of your expensive food.
9. Meeting New People
There is nothing wrong with meeting new people at football games, and when you swing your arm around a stranger and sing like you’re best friends, you know you’ve made the right decision to come alone. Not that I don’t have friends to go with, but they don’t enjoy the games as much as I do. When you go to football games by yourself, you are surrounded by so many people, all cheering for the same team.
You can embrace the hug of a stranger as your team touchdowns and talk about literally anything because all of you have come together for the sake of celebrating your school spirit. You can sing Sweet Caroline at the top of your lungs with no one you know and feel like family. I have met numerous new people at these alone games who have become close friends of mine, and I wouldn’t have gotten to if I didn’t take that chance of going alone.
10. First Out of the Stadium, Too
This is where the sardine aspect of stadium life comes back into play. Everyone tries to get out of the game at once and tries to leave the quickest. Our feet hurt, and all we want to do is go home and sleep the haze off of another win (or the disappointment of a loss). That may require some pushing and juking through crowds. But if you’re lucky enough to be the first one in with the best seats, you can also be the first one out without any hassle, pushing or juking at all. There’s no better feeling than being the first one out of the stadium when everyone else is mushed together like a school of fish.
If you think going alone to a football game would be boring, think again. Trust me, you won’t regret it.