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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

It’s your senior year of college, and you’re a Florida Gator with a terrible case of football FOMO. With the last home game right around the corner, it’s a wonder how students and fans can think of anything except throwing around an air-filled lump of pigskin. We wait all year for our first home game, and poof: Just like that, it’s over.

The reality of having to wait long, agonizing months until the next season kicks off is a tough pill to swallow — especially after we were robbed of two home games this season (insert Kermit the Frog meme here).

Still, we have one game left to attend. Preparing for the finale is like preparing for the Olympics.

It takes ample time and consideration. It’s more nerve-wracking than picking out classes or applying for a first “real” job. If you happen to be short on both, fear not. Here is a list of six things you can do to make this last game the most memorable — even if it is a noon game against South Carolina.

Make signs. And I mean go all out! There is nothing like having the witty sign that everyone at the game wants to take pictures of. Who can forget the infamous “UMass Did Harambe” sign? It was classic, and had fans chortling and borrowing the clever slogan for several of the following home games. Scroll Instagram for some inspiration. Keep a journal next to your bed in case any good ideas spring up at 2 a.m. when you should be sleeping — or studying for that calc exam. Don’t miss an opportunity. Remember that anti-‘Nole signs are acceptable at any point during the season. Don’t worry. You’re among friends.

Pre-game up to a week before the big day. Make these final days before the end of football count. Play more beer pong than you ever thought possible. Throw themed parties every night of the week. Skip class if necessary. Instructors will definitely understand. This is football for crying out loud!

Full body paint. The time has come for you to embrace the very thing that you cringe at during football games—especially in the not-so-flattering heat of the Swamp. It’s basically a right of passage, like teenage acne. Don’t do it, solo, either. This needs to be done with at least one other person. Larger groups are a lot more fun, though. And you won’t feel that weird being almost naked in a stadium of 90,000 plus people. Get creative.

Watch the Gator Walk. You need to do this. Even if you’ve done it before, there will be no Gator Walk like your last. Push the little kids out of the way. They’ve got the rest of their adolescence to get high-fived by the Gator elite. This is your moment.

Tailgate. This should be self-explanatory, but if not, let me get you up to speed. Find people that are already drunk, tell a few jokes, bump shoulders and BOOM. Free Jell-O shots. You’ll make new friends and maybe even have a spot to watch the game if you don’t have tickets.

Chants. Do every single one of them, every damn time the band strikes a chord. Those cheers will put you in the football spirit in even the worst of circumstances (bad weather, bad score, etc.). Hum a bunch of nonsense during the alma mater if you don’t know the words and can’t see the lyrics.

And put your freaking phone down. There is no experience like the one you actually live, so don’t miss it because you’re trying too hard to get it on camera.

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