By Catie Santos
Watching LSU play from the comfort of your own home while eating a bucket of fried chicken can get old fast. When the cameras cut to the crazy student section, we see how much fun everyone is having and vow to attend the next year. Here are five ways to have the best away game experience!
1. Start preparing early
Student tickets for away games go on sale at the end of the spring semester, so keep an eye on your inbox if you want to secure seats for you and your friends. Megan Lato, accounting freshman, tailgated before the Auburn game.
“Definitely go with lots of friends because that made the experience so much better,” Lato said.
For the best deals, book a hotel room as early as possible and look for rooms in neighboring towns to avoid the inflated rates that accompany game days. Couch surfing is also a cheap – if not kinda creepy – option.
Decide in advance how you want to travel to the game. There’s something special about a good, old-fashioned road trip with your best friends, but if driving isn’t your style, check out airline flight prices months in advance to find the best deal. Student Government also hosts a bus trip to an away game each year.
2. Create a game day game plan
Research your destination. (Unless it’s Starkville. Then there’s nothing to research – literally.) Look up maps of parking lots, the stadium, and the stadium’s entrances ahead of time. It’s also a good idea to become familiar with that state’s liquor laws, as well as the school’s post-game traffic plan. If you have friends at the rival school, learn ahead of time what their tailgate plans are and see if you can visit.
Also, mentally prepare ahead of time to be hassled. You are the enemy after all (and outnumbered), so just grin and bare the inevitable comments. I attended the LSU vs. Florida game in Gainesville and was repeatedly told that I “smell like a corn dog,” as people yelled “Gator bait!” in the distance. The best way to handle obnoxious fans is to just ignore them and move on. There’s tons to see and experience, so don’t waste any time on people who are not inviting. There are plenty of locals who are more than willing to welcome you with open arms, so spend your time looking for them!
3. Expect the unexpected
Every school’s tailgating scene is unique. LSU is unique because our Greek tailgates are located away from the Greek houses in a central location with the atmosphere of one giant party. Don’t expect another school to be anything like LSU. Carla Chouciño, communication disorders junior, attended the Wisconsin game in Houston.
“It’s better if you know someone who actually attends that school, Greek or not, because then you can get a better feel and experience for that school,” Chouciño said.
If you don’t know anyone at the school you’re visiting, approach the day with an open mind and make the most of your tailgating experience. Ask locals where to go on a game day and learn where the popular local bars are. Most people are welcoming and want you to have a great time, so they can point you in the right direction.
4. Always, always show your Tiger pride!
It is easy to be intimidated when you are outnumbered, but from the second you step on campus be the best representative of LSU that you can be. Don’t trash talk the other team and be polite, even if you are dealing with people who are not well mannered.
Support our team. Sing along when the band plays like there’s no tomorrow. Cheer as loud as you can. Don’t be one of those fans that is filmed looking bored or, worst-case scenario, crying. The atmosphere of the LSU student section at an away game is just like a scaled-down version of our home student section. Alli Smith, kinesiology junior, attended the LSU vs. Wisconsin game in Houston. “The entire student section raised all sorts of commotion, as to be expected,” Smith said. “It’s always a great feeling!”