As BON continues picking up student readers, I feel it is my duty to advise incoming new students about their first game at DKR. And if you are a freshmen or transfer student reading BON, then I doubt you’re a casual fan whose only interest is the social landscape of DKR.
Plus, as a military man and diehard UT fan, that’s just not how I roll. This post is my take on gameday advice for first-timers who are serious about their football, and I welcome everyone to provide critical, constructive, and helpful feedback…think of the children, please. Feel free to take a less hardline approach below, but let’s do this...
PARKING: Some of you may be concerned about parking—you should be. The University closes down the normal parking spots starting at midnight prior to Gameday, so parking on campus is heavily restricted. If you are within walking distance, even extended walking distance, then you should walk. However, if you absolutely have to drive, I do have a few potential tips:
1) C Lot behind the SSB: Shhhh, this is our little secret and one heavily exploited by my best friend. Parking behind the
2) North Campus: The north campus area probably has the most spots available to students, and it is only around a 10-15 minute walk from the stadium. There should be parking in a lot of the streets surrounding Trudy's and also around 31st and Duval/Speedway. If you cruise around North Campus, you will eventually find a spot, but you might have to work for it.
3) Downtown Meter Spot: This is your safest bet. I've advised people in the past to park at one of the DT free parking meters, then walk to the stadium. You should be able to find a spot, but it is the longest walk.
4) Dobie Garage: This has tightened up recently, but Dobie usually has some parking allotted for the general public. It is $10 for all-day, but it places you within the realm of campus.
TAILGATING: This may be a sore subject for the greybeards around these parts, as UT has changed several of the tailgating policies in the last few years. My organizational involvement has precluded heavy exploitation of the tailgating scene the last few years, but I'll pass along some of the more active areas/options.
1) The Bob Bullock Museum Parking Lot: Several prominent undergraduate service/spirit organizations hold tailgates in this lot. You probably won't be able to poach free food and beer without a legitimate connection (or a smoking hot female), but it's usually a pretty good scene and there are definitely a lot of students milling around. I don't advise aimlessly walking around, but I would advise seeing if you know some people who at least know some people who will be there.
2) Bevo Boulevard: I've never done this myself, so I'll leave any commentary or feedback for others to impart.
3) General Guidelines: There are plenty of other designated areas throughout MLK, San Jac, and even behind the Rec Center. Different people have different preferences, and most people follow their own Gameday routine. Overall, just make sure you have a plan and this plan hopefully involve barbecue, refreshments, music/football, and either friends or attractive members of the opposite sex.
STADIUM POLICIES: Here are some important items over DKR policies and stadium entry:
1) Show up to the appropriate gate thirty minutes before kick-off. Check your student ticket for the appropriate gate entry and also have your student ID. The gates get pretty crowded prior to kickoff, and you don't want to miss the start of the game because you arrived too late. If you want to see the pre-game festivities—which are awesome—then shoot to arrive even earlier.
2) Hide your beverages. You can't bring any refreshments into the stadium, which includes bottled water. Unless you want to hide something on yourself—the tried and true method—make sure you finish your drinks before you arrive to the stadium.
3) No umbrellas, credit cards, or backpacks. You can't bring umbrellas into the game, as UT would prefer you buy an overpriced poncho. If there’s a chance of rain, you might want to consider bringing cash. Speaking of cash, they don't accept credit cards at the concession stands and there are only one or two available ATMs on either side of the stadium for 90,000 people. So, yeah, bring some cash. Finally, as my sister found out last season, DKR does not allow students to bring in their backpacks. If you need to study, then make appropriate arrangements to store your bag during the game. I suggest using a locker in the
4) Seating Policies. Students aren't really forced to sit in their actual seats, but it gets really annoying when one person tries to bring multiple people who don't have student tickets to their section. You will be in a standing-room only environment and most of the people will be squatting in the seats of others—it happens. Just try to be respectful of others and don't bring in too many non-students or try to cram a dozen friends into three seats. Once everyone finishing trickling into the stadium midway through the first quarter, it can get pretty testy. And, yes, everyone does the trick where they take out multiple tickets from the same row and pass them off to people whose seats are in other sections.
GENERAL ADVICE: Here are some final pieces of wisdom and protocol over how to properly enjoy a UT home game.
1) Wear ORANGE and stay for the entire game. If you show up to a home game wearing one of the navy blue or black shirts, then you deserve to have your seats revoked for the rest of the season. Wear orange and stay the entire game. It's pretty simple, yet way too many people mess it up. Neither of these are optional, in my book. And, FYI, the "entire game" includes "The Eyes of Texas."
2) Rain preparation and proper footwear. As many of us learned last year, you should bring something to protect your cell phone in case of rain. I can't tell you how many phones got destroyed during the KSU game, but it was pretty brutal. A ziplock bag will do the trick. Also, if it starts raining, it is going to get *very* slippery if you have sandals on. Wear tennis shoes or boots. Even if it isn't raining, you're going to get jarred a bit during the game, so closed-toed shoes are the better bet. And if it isn't raining, you also might want sunscreen and sunglasses, depending on the game time and location of your seats.
3) Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate. I cannot tell you how many students I've seen succumb to heat-related illnesses and injuries. The combination of sweltering heat, pre-game alcohol consumption, and standing for 3.5 hours is not exactly for the faint-of-heart. Make sure you get adequate water prior to the game, and I also advise purchasing at least one bottled water at the stadium. You can use the water fountains at the stadium to refill the water. Since I hate missing the game, for any amount of time, I suggest paying someone to buy a bottled water for everyone to share, then allowing the freeloaders access to the water if they will refill it during the game.
4) Spotty cell phone coverage. Don't plan on being able to call/text people around the stadium. It sometimes works out ok, but I have been stranded trying to meet people in the past because I couldn't get any service.
5) Don't abuse opposing fans. Corny UT slogans aside, I cannot stand watching innocent opposing fans get unnecessarily heckled or abused. Notice the qualifying word in the previous sentence. This ain't Columbus, OH, people, and no Longhorn should want it to be...
GAME TRADITIONS: Here are some of the Texas staples…
2) Smokey the Cannon: The Texas Cowboys fire the Cannon after every extra point, FG, and end of every quarter.
3) Bevo: Bevo is corraled at the southwest corner of the stadium.
4) Godzillatron: We have the biggest stadium scoreboard in all of college football. It's a shame that we cover 20% of it with digital advertisements.
5) Goddesses Pom Squad: Some of the hottest girls on campus wearing chaps and dancing around. Needless to say, they are very popular...
6) APO and the Texas flag: There is a gi-GAN-tic Texas flag unveiled across the field before the game.
7) The Eyes of Texas: Played before and after game. Til Gabriel blows his horn. Hook 'em.