Every week, thousands of players and coaches troop to stadiums all over the country to participate in the greatness of college football.
Every single one of them has some sort of individual ritual that they go through each and every week, as well as the routines that they go through as a team: the same warmups, the same songs, the same everything.
Fans are no different than the players in the fact that they have gameday rituals and routines. People tend to show up to the stadium at the same time, tailgate at the same spot, and in some cases, even have the same food selection.
Each routine is different for every fan, so I thought it would be fun to give you a bit of an insight on what a gameday looks like for me. It's not your typical routine, but I wouldn't trade it for anything! Hope you enjoy!
Game time on a Saturday determines the time of waking up. Regardless of game time, I'm up by 10 a.m. and eating breakfast while watching College Gameday.
Once Gameday goes off, it's time for the first slate of games. More often than not, my room is full of friends and other guys on the hall (I live in the dorms) watching the games and enjoying some good company.
The later the time for the OU game, the better as that means more time to watch games during the morning and early afternoon.
Three hours before the game, I roll down to the University of Oklahoma Student Association tailgate party for free hot dogs and other food.
Normally, the entire group that's been in my room with my roommates and I head down with me. UOSA started to put on this tailgate each week last year and it's been a huge success, giving those who aren't involved in frats or other organizations a place to eat and hang out before home games.
After I'm done eating, it's time to go get in line.
At OU, students are allowed to enter the stadium two hours prior to kickoff, with the rest of the fans allowed in 30 minutes later. Since the OU student section is general admission, there is always a mad dash for tow sections: the section beside the band closest to the field, and the section that sits on the 50-yard line.
The section I sit in is the upper level of the lower bowl, right on the 30-yard line, so it's not exactly the most sought after area. This is a great thing, as it allows my friends and I to have zero problems sitting together each week.
I normally get in line with everyone about 30 minutes before the gates open. It's always a thrill when they do open the gates because it literally is a mad dash for the quality seats.
Students scan their tickets, and then HAUL through the concourse in an effort to get as close to the field or close to the 50 as possible. It's pretty exciting, I must admit. The Texas Tech game in 2008 was an absolute madhouse when the event staff opened the gates.
Once you're in your seats, the most boring part of gameday occurs: the wait for kickoff. Since students are in the stadium 30 minutes before anyone else, they have all sorts of promotions and contests to fill the time slot and keep students from being bored out of their minds.
I've never been selected to participate in one of the contests, but I have caught quite a few t-shirts. Being 6'4" definitely helps in that regard. This time is the absolute worst on day games early in the season because it is so hot and the student section is facing the sun the entire time. No relief whatsoever.
It's also during this time that people go picture happy. The best pictures are the sequence shots of the press box side of the stadium. You take a picture every ten minutes and just watch as the stadium fills up.
It's pretty cool to look at later once you've downloaded the pictures. Also, things can get kinda chippy during this time if you're saving seats for friends, especially the closer you get to kickoff.
Sometimes you have to battle tooth and nail to keep your friend's seat, but it's not bad most of the time. I always try to make as much room as possible, knowing that most people will move if they become to uncomfortable or close to someone they don't know. It works every time.
Finally, after an hour and a half of waiting, the teams exit the field and at 22:00 remaining on the pregame clock, the Pride of Oklahoma takes the field to begin the pregame routine. The pregame routines of each school are a very cool thing to experience, especially if it is your first time at a stadium. That's always something I always get excited about whenever it is my first time at a new stadium.
At OU, the band plays the state song, "Oklahoma," the alma mater, and "You're a Grand 'Ol Flag," followed by the playing and singing of the national anthem, which is one of my favorite parts of attending an OU football game. The entire stadium sings along with the vocalist who is leading it and the band playing it. I think it would be pretty cool if there was no leading vocalist and just the fans sang. It would be moving for sure.
Once the national anthem is over and the Pride marches back down the field playing "Boomer Sooner" and "OK Oklahoma," it's time.
The entrance video is the biggest thing that gets me going before the game starts. My freshman year, Soonervision put out some really awesome videos that played before the game and since that point, everyone has eagerly anticipated the first game of each season for not only football, but also to see what the intro video looks like.
A team coming out on the field is one of the most exciting parts of the game. When the team is accompanied by a video on a massive scoreboard complete with dramatic music, it just gets the blood pumping all the more!
Kickoff. The culmination of everything that I've been waiting for all day long. It's very cool to be a part of the OU crowd, all standing as one, index fingers extended sky high, all bellowing, "OOOOOOOOOO," followed by "U," when the kicker sends the ball sailing toward the opposite end zone.
Kickoff signals that it's time to strap in and hope that your vocal chords are in good shape because the next hour and a half will be full of yelling, screaming, clapping, jumping, and all other forms of emotional outpourings.
For me, halftime is the time when I relax and give my vocal chords and hands a rest. I clap extremely loud and so my hands take a beating from each other every game as well as my voice from yelling a lot.
As a former band member, I'm always keyed into whatever the band is playing for their show and get excited whenever I hear pieces that I may have played while I was in marching band.
Halftime is also my time for the obligatory bathroom/water break. I refuse to leave my seat while the game is going on, and so halftime is obviously the only time where I could do anything of the sort. I just love my football to an extreme.
Any kind of celebration in the stands is absolute pandemonium, especially in the student section because of how close you're packed together. Any touchdown, turnover, or great play results in the slapping of hands with anyone and everyone within an arms reach and a stretch of me.
Other great methods of celebration that I highly encourage and employ include, but are not limited to, chest bumps, shoving mosh pit style, head butts (just kidding), and hugs.
After the game, the party is on! Normally, this involves going to someone's apartment or back to the dorms to watch whatever football is left for the day. This past Saturday was fantastic as all of the evening games were extremely tight and were great to watch.
So that's that. A day in the life of an Oklahoma football fan. It really is an all day affair, consisting of many hours, lots of sweat (if it's hot), yelling, bonding with fellow Sooners, and just plain fun.
There is nothing like college football!