Let's take a look at some basic tips on being a good Vanderbilt fan.
Go to the darn games: You've got your season tickets, check; you've donated to the Commodore Club, check; now it's time to get to the game. The leaves in the yard can wait another day. Forget the church bazaar. Get your tail into the stadium. Wifey/hubby can't go? So what? Invite a friend. Can't find anyone? Go alone. All Vandy fans are your friends. You are no good to the team if you aren't in the stands supporting them. Get to the stadium.
What to bring: Show your pride by wearing Black and Gold. Bring that old shaker, they don't always hand them out. A portable radio with an earpiece is nice so you can hear Joe Fisher's play calling while you watch the action. A pair of binoculars is important, especially if your seat is by one of the end zones. Don't forget your glasses. Have a poncho or two in the trunk in case of rain. The team still needs your support even in the rain. Most of all, don't forget those tickets!
What to leave at home: Your embroidery can wait another day. You won't need the game boy or PSP either. Pets aren't allowed in the stadium, so leave the toy poodle at home. Get a baby sitter for un-potty trained children. Drunk fans tend to do stupid stuff so the flask can stay at home also.
Get to your seat BEFORE kickoff: Put down the cocktail. Drop the hot wing. VU students that pretty sorority girl will be there after the game. Get to the stadium on time. Try to be seated at least 10 minutes prior to kickoff. Remember, it takes some time to weave through the ticket guy, the 103 year old lady that's lost, the concession stand lines and just people everywhere, so get there early. If you aren't seated at least before the National Anthem is played then you've failed at this task and have let the team down. Remember, the players look up at the stands when they come out and a stadium full of Black and Gold helps to fire them up.
Many games feature critical plays in the first few minutes that eventually help decide the game. Your presence is needed.
When NOT to yell: When your team is on offense (this means they have the ball), you should only yell AFTER the play or when they score. Do not yell at start of the play. This helps the other team as it makes it harder for our quarterback to give directions to his teammates.
When to yell loud: When the other team is on offense yell loud when they are getting ready to start a play. You need to especially yell loud during third down or goal line situations. This is important because if they don't convert the third down then this means Vandy will likely be getting the ball back, which is a good thing.
Basic yelling tips: Yell ALMOST as loud as you can. If you yell as loud as you can you'll be horse by the second quarter and useless from there on. Cup your hands around your mouth and make a megaphone. Instead of just hollering in a consistent stream of sound, try holding the air in your lungs and just letting out sharp bursts of sound, staggering the intervals. This will help conserve your voice for the fourth quarter and also make it even harder for the opposing quarterback to give directions to his teammates. Remember also to project the sound towards their quarterback, not the fan seated next to you. You may not feel like you are doing much but if you have 30,000 fans doing this it can get real loud. Noise making devices are not allowed in Vanderbilt Stadium unless you are a member of the band. Also, don't yell smack talk at opposing players. You'll just fire them up. Stick with making lots of noise to make it harder for their quarterback when they are on offense.
If you can't yell: Clap. If you're in the steel stadium section, stomp. Do something to help build a supportive atmosphere.
After the game: It's okay to celebrate a victory and have fun but don't taunt opposing fans. This makes Vanderbilt look bush league and could get you in a fight and land you in jail.
We all are hoping for another Vanderbilt win on Saturday. Let's all do our part in helping the team accomplish its goal of a winning season and a bowl. Be there and be loud!
NOTE: As of Thursday less than 3,000 tickets were remaining for the regular season final vs. Tenneseee. Tickets for both Florida ($40) and Tennessee ($50) are available online at www.vucommodores.com, by phone at (615) 322-GOLD at the Vanderbilt Athletic Ticket Office on-campus in the McGugin Center. Hours for the ticket office are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.