Preparation to attend a football game

Emily Doran

Growing up, I always liked football. Considering that I was sandwiched between two brothers, I think the odds of me enjoying this sport were pretty high. I even used to be the designated quarterback in our three-person games, which we would play after our weekly tradition of watching the Detroit Lions invariably get thrashed.

Before coming to GVSU, though, I had never attended a football game. To explain this, I should note that I had been homeschooled my entire academic life. And while I appreciated this form of education, one of its downsides was that I never had a high school football team. As a result, I was never in a position where I could scream excitedly from the bleachers when my favorite player scored a touchdown or restrain myself from complaining loudly when the referees made a bad call.

Today, however, I am attending a school that radiates football fever. Consistently ranked one of the best teams in Division II football past seasons, the Lakers have certainly earned such an enthusiastic fan base. It may be easy to imagine, then, my anticipation when I decided to attend Grand Valley State University’s first home football game against Ohio Dominican.

Nevertheless, I made a lot of beginner mistakes that any seasoned football fan would surely have known to avoid.

First, I forgot to wear black, and that was a big no-no. This particular matchup was, after all, the “Black Out Game,” but apparently I hadn’t realized what that meant. I recognized my fashion faux pas when I stopped by the tailgating parties and saw that almost everyone else was wearing black. Luckily, I was able to borrow a friend’s jacket that fit the bill, and with this added accoutrement, I definitely felt pumped and ready to watch some football.

That brings me to beginner mistake number two: I didn’t get in line for seating early enough. As a result, the student section filled up long before I entered the stadium. I wound up standing by the fence behind one of the end zones instead. I would have preferred to sit down, but it was still fun to be that close to the players.

Finally, the worst beginner mistake I made was not dressing warmly enough. Even though I had anticipated that the outdoor temperature may have been a problem, I did not come to the game prepared. I thought I had – I was wearing a jacket, jeans, and boots – but apparently my outfit wasn’t nearly as heavy-duty as it needed to be. By the second half, I could hardly feel my feet and had to move around just to keep from completely freezing.

Despite these beginner mistakes, I still thoroughly enjoyed attending my first football game. My favorite part was the atmosphere, which was saturated with Laker spirit. This was no doubt due to the fact that the crowd was fired up, our team made a valiant effort, and the marching band sounded awesome, as per usual. Next time, though, I’ll definitely come more prepared: I’ll wear the right colors, get in line early and dress like an Eskimo.