Stadium survival guide: Six tips for braving The Bill

(Illustration by Grace Needham | Collegian Media Group)

The first Caturday of the year is this weekend, and for many of you, it’ll be your first Caturday ever. Here are my top six tips and tricks to help you successfully navigate Bill Snyder Family Stadium, or The Bill. After all, your only worry for the day should be the scoreboard.

  1. Unplug

If you haven’t heard by now, The Bill is notorious for being a phone graveyard. Before leaving for the game, make sure everything you need is ready to go. I always set an alarm on my phone to ring an hour before I leave so I have enough time to download my ticket. Make sure everyone in your group knows the exact plan because once your feet touch those tailgates, your phone is just a metal brick.

  1. Always Have a Buddy

I took this piece of advice too lightly during my freshman year and ended up walking back to the dorms at 11 p.m. alone — don’t be like me. Before you leave, make sure every person in your group has a buddy. If you’re going alone and meeting your group there, ensure you meet them at a specific time and place.

  1. Have Meeting Spots and Times

Since phone connection is spotty at the games, it’s important to have specific meeting spots and times in case you get separated from your group. My friends and I have kept our spot the same since the very first football game; it’s easy to remember and we know exactly where to look if we get separated.

  1. Arrive at Least Two Hours Early

Two hours might seem extremely early to arrive at the stadium, but two is the bare minimum. You want plenty of time to find parking, take pictures, walk around the tailgates and make it to the gates with plenty of time to find seats before kickoff. If you’re a die-hard Wildcat and want a front-row experience, arrive three or four hours early. When those gates open two hours before the game, you’ll want to be at the front of the line.

  1. Bag Essentials

One of the best purchases you can make for game days is a clear bag. At my first game, I thought I could sneak in a regular purse, but I had to leave it outside the stadium for the whole game. 

Here are my clear bag essentials:

Hand sanitizer: If you end up having to use the restrooms at the tailgates, you will definitely want hand sanitizer.

Portable charger: While you may not be able to do anything social on your phone, knowing what time it is for meeting your friends is essential.

Bandaids: No matter how careful you are, you or someone in your group is bound to get a scrape somewhere in the bleachers. It’s always better to be prepared.

Water bottle: Sealed water bottles are allowed through the gates of The Bill. It’s nice to stay hydrated without having to buy anything from the concession stands. 

  1. Wear Comfy Shoes and Socks

Wearing cute shoes might be fun, but it’s not super practical. I have always regretted wearing heeled boots or any other cute shoes. A good pair of Air Forces will always do the trick, and you won’t be disappointed if something spills on them. Plus, one of my favorite Wildcat traditions is kickoff. Right before “Joker and the Thief”  blasts over the loudspeakers, everyone takes off their shoes to hold up in the air. No one wants to be trying to take off a heel only to stand barefoot on the bleachers.