How to survive a K-State football game

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The sun shines over Bill Snyder Family Stadium during the game between K-State and Oklahoma State on Nov. 5, 2016. (File Photo by George Walker | The Collegian)

As a returning student, one part of the fall semester I am very excited for is Kansas State football. The energy in the student section at Bill Snyder Family Stadium is invigorating and exciting, especially with the marching band blaring away and our football team (hopefully) winning the game. If you are new to the K-State family, I recommend watching at least one Wildcats game on our home field.

Last fall, I worked for K-State Athletics Event Services as peer security, aka the people who stand outside the stadium and check bags. With my experience as a staff member and a student in the stands, here are some tips to help you have fun and stay sane at a K-State football game.

1. Bring an (unopened) water bottle

Don’t pay four dollars at the concession stand for water. Bring an unopened, store-bought bottle of water to drink throughout the game. The stadium has water fountains, and though the fountains are few and far between, you can refill your water bottle for free.

2. In fact, find out what you can and cannot bring into the stadium

K-State Athletics has several rules concerning what is not allowed inside Bill Snyder Family Stadium. An important and fairly new policy is the Clear Bag Policy, so if you are bringing several items to the game, make sure to carry it all in a clear gallon bag or another approved bag (all listed on the K-State Sports website).

As a former K-State Athletics employee, I know it is super helpful for guests to be prepared and knowledgeable. If you bring a blanket, have it unrolled and tossed over your shoulder. Signs that have profanity or lewd words on them won’t be allowed in, so don’t bother bringing them. You can review the rest of the stadium’s policies online as well.

3. If you do not buy an athletic pass, don’t stress

If you only intend on attending one or two home games this season, buying an athletic pass may not seem worth your while. Odds are, someone you know has a pass and won’t make it to all of the games. Ask the people in your living community and Facebook friends several days before the game and see if you can borrow someone’s pass. Chances are if they will miss the game, they will let you go in their place.

4. If you do buy an athletic pass, know the difference between ICAT and GA

Student athletic passes are available for purchase on the KSIS website under ‘Marketplace.’ As of Aug. 1, ICAT combo passes for football and men’s basketball are sold out. General admission tickets are still available for $150 (football only) and $235 (football and men’s basketball).

The main differences between these student seating sections is the price, benefits and locations. ICAT tickets are slightly more expensive than GA but come with two T-shirts, and ticket holders sit in sections 24 and 25, about midfield. The GA sections are 26 through 28, nestled near the corner of the stadium wear the marching band sits.

5. Prepare ahead for the weather

Since our first home game is in steamy September and the last is held on Nov. 25, be ready to adjust to a range of weather conditions. We are in Kansas after all. Check the weather before you head to the stadium to see if you need a rain jacket, warm layers or sunscreen. If rain is in the forecast, however, remember that umbrellas are not permitted inside the stadium.

6. Always have your student ID card

I believe this is an important guideline in general, but you will not be able to enter the stadium with a GA or ICAT pass without a student ID. Ushers also verify this when you actually get to the GA seating section (ICAT patrons are given wristbands at the gate, so they look for those instead at that section).

7. If you want to be in the front seats, be early

Gates open for the stadium two hours before kickoff, but the line for the student sections start way before then. If you are determined to get those front-row bench seats, arrive early so that your chances of watching the game up close are better. If you do not arrive early, the back benches still give you a good view of the game, I promise.

8. Don’t pay for parking; catch the shuttle bus

Parking at Bill Snyder Memorial Stadium costs $20 for non-reserved stalls and can fill up fast. Save yourself the hassle and take the shuttle bus from campus instead. The buses begin their routes two hours before the game starts and pick up people from the K-State Union and a few Aggieville locations. You can ride back on a shuttle bus after the game, too.

Another hint: even if you do not drive to the game, consider bringing keys. Rattling them right before kickoff is a fun tradition.

9. Wear comfortable shoes

You will be standing the whole time in line and at the game, whether you want to or not. Students in ICAT and GA stand on top of the metal benches to watch the game. Wear some comfortable shoes to last through all the stomping, cheering and Wabashing.

10. Stick around for halftime

K-State has quite literally one of the best marching bands in the nation. Their halftime performance is always entertaining, so stay to watch it. You will be supporting your fellow students’ hard work and passion on the field. The spectators in the student sections also sit down during halftime, so resting your feet is an added bonus.

11. If you leave temporarily, make sure you get scanned out

Ticket takers by the gates can “scan out” your ticket so that you can come back into the stadium. If you leave the stadium but plan on coming back during the game, be sure to have your pass scanned out. Keep in mind that the same rules and regulations that you followed when you first got there still apply when you re-enter the stadium.

12. To get paid to watch football games, apply to be an usher

As I mentioned earlier, I was part of the peer security staff for football season. We are the gatekeepers who primarily enforce stadium entry rules. One downside to this position is that I never got to watch the football game that day; I only caught a few minutes of the game on breaks. This is the same circumstance for ticket takers and parking attendants.

I was assigned as an usher for basketball season, and I can definitely say it is a good way to get paid to watch a sports game. You will spend a lot of time standing and climbing stairs, plus helping guests with questions, but the trade off is a good view of the game and a paycheck to boot.

What’s most important is that you spend your K-State game day your way. You can tailgate, you can arrive at the stadium five minutes to kickoff, you can leave at halftime. However you spend your Saturday at the stadium, these tips will help you have a wonderful day cheering on the Wildcats.

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