Manhattan in the fall is wonderful. You get to see the trees slowly turn from their boisterous green to warm and friendly reds, oranges and browns. The crippling summer heat slowly subsides, so you can enjoy leisurely walks to class with friends.
And, probably most importantly, fall sports return to Wildcat Land with football and volleyball leading the way.
Remembering back to my freshman year, even if you weren’t raised in the ways of the Wildcat like I was, K-State did its darnedest to jam every Wildcat tradition into my head before I had even received my first syllabus.
You don’t really get the full package that way, though. This is the tried and tested, behind the scenes look at the do’s and don’ts of owning the fall sports season as a spectator extraordinaire.
Let’s start with the grand muckety-muck of Manhattan: football.
Arrive early: If you care about getting prime seat, this is a must – especially for freshman who are confined to general admission seating. Gates open two hours before kick-off, but die-hards will be lining up an hour or two before that. If you want to be one of those crazy fans that ESPN shows in the front row, grab your friends and make a plan to get there nice and early.
Hydrate: This is a huge tip, especially in those first couple of games when it is obscenely hot for what is supposedly passing as September. You do not want to be one of those people that has to get carried out of the Bill because you chose Red Solo Cup Elixir over good old agua. Security at the gate will allow every fan one sealed water bottle, so take advantage unless you want the high concession water bottle prices to take advantage of you.
Location, location, location: Even though you’re only confined to several sections, location is everything. My advice? Grab an isle seat right next to the band. They will be your spirit guide to all things EMAW led by the musical mad-man himself, Director of Bands Frank Tracz. There isn’t a place that’s more fun in that stadium than that spot. Plus, if you’re lucky, they might play “Tuba 3” for you.
The hidden gem of K-State sports is what goes on in the unair-conditioned wonderland of Ahearn Field House, home of the K-State Volleycats.
The “Purple Pit” takes all the craziness and fanaticism of the football and basketball and puts it in what was once the loudest basketball arena in the Big 8 (sorry, not sorry Allen Fieldhouse).
Here’s some tips to get the most out of your volleyball visit’s.
Arrive early: Okay, I might sound like a broken record here but this one is a biggie. There is only a limited amount of space to an event that is open to every student for free. It fills up fast and if you’re not prompt, you might be stuck hanging out in the balcony watching all of your friends get in on some “Purple Pit” action without you.
Learn the volleyball traditions: Another time where the band and your older Wildcats come in handy. Like the rules in baseball, the volleyball chants are unwritten, getting passed on every year from one crazed Volleycat fan to the next. Once you go to a volleyball game, you engage in the great oral tradition that I won’t dare spoil for you here. Let’s just say it’s a sight to behold and take part in.
Maybe get some sauna time in before you go: Ahearn Field House is turning 65 years old this year. And like many folks around retirement age, they enjoy a slightly warmer climate. Yup, “the Old Barn,” doesn’t have air conditioning, but it’s all part of the fun. The coaches love it, the players love it and you too will soon … get used to it, I guess.
Finally, I have one joint tip to stretch across both sports.
Get in on a double: Two times this year, you’ll have the chance to watch a football game and then make your way to Ahearn for some volleyball action. Or maybe start your day with head coach Suzie Fritz in Ahearn and then make your pilgrimage to Fort Snyder to catch a night cap. Be sure to keep your entire Saturday free on both Sept. 5 and Oct. 10 to get in on some serious K-State double-dip action.
Timothy Everson is a sophomore in mass communications.