It’s that weekend of the year again: when a couple thousand blue-and-crimson sweater-wearing, Sperry-sporting, scotch-swigging nerds and nerd alumni convene in the fields and parking lots of a sports stadium to tailgate. And then some football happens.
Yeah, remember there’s an actual game to watch
Gearing up for this event as a non-athletic regular person (NARP, for short) requires a similar level of dedication and preparation as that done by the actual members of the team. Read on to find out how.
1. Properly pre-game (no, not alcohol, food!)
While the actual football players face the tough challenges of running faster, catching better, hitting harder, and generally out-sports-ing Harvard on the field, for the rest of us, The Game may be the biggest test of our drinking stamina we’ll experience all year.
Unless you’re a senior, in which case it’s babytown compared to Myrtle + senior week
The key to this is proper preparation. Our Bulldog boys don’t storm the field fueled solely by PopTarts and prayers, and neither should you. Of course, their nutritional needs – meat, protein shakes, and gatorade, if their dining hall habits are any indication – differ from yours significantly. Think carbs, starches, and any other food that acts as an alcohol sponge. Find a diner and down a pile of pancakes, or flirt your way into a dining hall for french toast and waffles. Nab a baguette on your way to the field and munch it throughout the morning. Wolf down some toast, splurge on a crepe, or attempt to convince someone to leggo their Eggo.
And remember: beer before liquor, never sicker, liquor before beer, in the clear!
The point is to feed. Feed, feed, feed, so you don’t vomit, vomit, vomit. Which leads me to my next point…
Your residential college should throw a tailgate (if it doesn’t, I and my other well-fed and liquor-ed Berkeleyites pity you). Hit that up for noms and spirits, but get there early – better options, and you don’t run the risk of bumping into your sloshed dean/master.
Lol yeah, hi…so about that dean’s excuse I requested…
After that, prowl around the alumni tailgating field. Utilize one of the two following strategies for maximum efficacy:
- Confidently pretend to be an obscure relative and/or friend of an obscure relative of someone at a tailgate. Works best with large groups of tailgaters with no clear familial connection
- Stumble around looking so hammered that someone might offer you some pity food (but not so hammered that they offer you a call to emergency medical services!)
Bust out the sad eyes!
This should work well, since the wealthy alumni leftovers will probably be better than anything you’ll eat for six years following graduation.
3. Get to know the team
Or, rather, know enough names to get through a basic conversation.
Yale Football Team 101 is Tyler Varga, a senior in Berkeley and tailback (or running back or halfback, it’s unclear) for the Bulldogs.
Tyler has garnered significant media attention for his impressive on-field accomplishments, as well as his academic success and dedicated dieting habits.
Tyler Varga cannot relate to this gif at all. Dude eats with more dedication than most of us do anything.
But you don’t have to study the roster too intensively to play it off like you have. Whenever something exciting happens and you feel the need to comment, toss out something vague like “yeah, Varga is really on-point this year!” and you have a decent chance of being relevant.
“YEEAAAHHH! HE REALLY OUT-SPORTS-ED THAT GUY!”
4. Know the game basics
I have nothing here.
5. Avoid the Cheshire Cat
Cambridge’s layout is a twisting, winding laybrinth of streets, avenues, byways, alleys, and boulevards, all of which have a name steeped in history, religion, religious history, or trees, and all of which are just waiting for a naïve, unsuspecting, probably-intoxicated Yalie to stumble down the wrong cobbled sidestreet and right down the rabbit hole.
See how the cat is crimson? A Harvard student. Don’t trust their wide, innocent-looking eyes
To make matters worse, on Game Day and the night before, the streets are littered with Harvard students either high on the glory of victory or spitefully looking for opportunities for revenge. In either case, trust no one wearing crimson. They’re all mad up there (likely due to a lack of socializing and the knowledge that they have school on Monday), and they’ll be particularly hazardous to Yalies in an already-confusing geographic maze.
And they’re just waiting to point you in the wrong direction. Or they’re a freshman and will unintentionally point you in the wrong direction. Either way, avoid!
In general, use the same standard Yale philosophy: when you run out of fancy-looking architecture, consider turning around (although in this case it’s red brick, more colonial than Hogwarts).
6. End the day appropriately
If we win: drink and party!
Until all hours of the night
If we lose: drink and party!
But with the appropriate amount of existential sadness
It’s on you, lucky Yalies who managed to get tickets, to make this particular iteration of the Game live up to the hype that surrounds it. Regardless of the outcome, it’s your responsibility to show those Cantabs how those of us with an actual mascot get down.