In the Swamp, only Gators get out alive. That is, of course, after following a few rules to make everyone’s lives a little more enjoyable on gamedays.
So you won the lottery — congratulations. Now you get to wait in line every Tuesday through Thursday (the week before each game) at Gate 13 while it’s sweltering hot outside. Whomever you pick up tickets with is whom you’ll be sitting next to. But your friends don’t have to be physically present to claim their tickets. If you get a group of friends together, you can send some ambassadors from the group with everyone’s IDs.
But if you didn’t win the lottery, you’re not out of luck. The university-approved way to get tickets is to try and buy unclaimed ones Thursday night on www.gatorzone.com. But if you don’t want to wait, you can buy tickets off other students. The best places to look are Craigslist and Facebook — try one of the ticket exchange groups. Remember the face value of each ticket is $15, and the closer to the game it is, the cheaper the tickets will likely get. Now for getting into the game. Have your student ID and ticket with you. Don’t try smuggling in alcohol, drinks or snacks while getting into the stadium, because your bags will be checked. Bring cash if you’re hungry for stadium food, or just stuff yourself before you enter. A good idea is to swing by the stadium and check out the rules before your first game so you don’t get turned away.
Stadium etiquette can be a little difficult, but a general rule of thumb is to not be a jerk. This includes not standing on the bleachers, not being a sloppy mess and not sneaking in friends — you’d be surprised how claustrophobic the place can get. Booing the other team is optional, and you’ll hear other students do it, but it’s usually better to take the high road and stay classy — which means yelling “orange” or “blue” at the top of your lungs.
Don’t forget UF traditions. Any Gator worth his salt will do his best to tailgate before the game, or at least spend the day outside, especially come October. Get some friends together and try a picnic if you can’t get a full on tailgate going, and enjoy the atmosphere. For home games, come a little early so you can get the whole experience, including the “Two Bits” chant and AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.” And don’t dare leaving until the third quarter, where the whole stadium links arms and sings “We are The Boys.”
This story originally ran on page 11 on 8/14/2013 under the headline "Guide to Gator Gameday: Don’t be a jerk, follow traditions"