"Down In Front"

As the season rapidly approaches, I would like to take this opportunity to address an issue that crops up at almost every single athletic event. You have heard it, or you have said it.

"Down in front".

Nothing can cause friction in a section faster than people violating fundamental stadium etiquette. So here is a brief synopsis of football stadium etiquette, including some areas that may be considered taboo by certain yellow shirted security.

1. This isn't the library. If you don't want to be around a raucous crowd that gets caught up emotionally in a ball game, you are probably a candidate for watching on TV, or sitting in the family section. That is not to say that boorishness should rule out over good decent family fun. Far from it. But there are certain unwritten rules to cheering at a football game, and standing is part of it. A couple of tips:

If the coaches are waving at the crowd to stand, and you feel the need to tell people in front of you to sit down, you need to stand. Mountaineer Field got its reputation for being loud. Standing and cheering is a large part of that.

If it is fourth and twenty, and you notice everyone within sixteen rows is sitting, and the guy behind you is yelling for you to sit down, sit down.

If you feel the need to adjust the sitting status of someone in front of you, try to have some tact when doing it. Sometimes the person may not realize that he/she is in the wrong. Ask politely. You may be surprised at the results.

Don't stand for the whole game, if you are not in the student section, unless we are undefeated, playing a top ten team, etc. There is the rare occasion that going to a football game is a standing room only event. Be prepared for an event like this. We haven't had one of those since Miami in 93, so some people may not remember.

2. This isn't church. Although to some people college football is a religion, that isn't my point. People at football games get loud. Sometimes they say things in the heat of the game that they shouldn't. Don't immediately flip out on someone if they yell an obscenity. It happens.

If you are apt to lob an F-bomb at a ballgame, please consider that there are people around who don't want to hear filthy diatribes.

Consider that a lot of people equate bad language to someone who is drunk. This gives people who do enjoy a legal beverage or ten a bad name. If you are too drunk to handle yourself, either don't drink, or leave. You are embarrassing us all, including yourself.

3. There is also an etiquette to tailgating, which includes eating and drinking.

If you are one to sample the beverages on hand, please consider the fact that some people don't drink, and some people don't like people who drink.

If you are one of those people, please consider that there are people who do like to drink, and they generally have no problem with people who don't, no matter what their reason.

Do not spill your drink on fans around you. This is alcohol abuse, and grounds for removal by my rules.

Don't go running to security just because you see someone drinking. Besides the fact that it just isn't nice, it causes friction in the area for an entire season.

4. Tailgating at Mountaineer Field is a way of life. You don't have to own a motor home to have a good tailgate. Although it helps. All you need for a good time is:

A canopy. If you show up early, and stay late, you will feel the need for shade at some point. A good 12x12 canopy will do wonders.

A grill. You can't have a good tailgate without some burgers, dogs, brats, chicken, etc. Buying these items pre-cooked at Kroger's doesn't cut it.

A Mountaineer Flag. You can get a good 21 foot flag pole and base from tailgaters.com. Put it under your rear tire, and raise your new WV flag.

A couple of coolers. You always need to have extra cooler space for people who show up with their own beverage of choice. Don't bring them too large, unless you have no qualms about leaving them out during the game.

Tables and chairs. This used to be a big hassle in the seventies and early 80s. Now with the advent of these foldup camp chairs and tables, you can get several into any size car, and have enough chairs for several people.

Trash bags. Always bring trash bags. It helps the people clean up after the game. Nothing is less fun than picking up after people at a football game. Police up your area before you leave, and bag up your garbage. You should also not the recycling bins located all around Mountaineer Field, and recycle your cans.

The icing on the cake is a satellite dish and a TV. If you have a big enough group, and you have a TV, and a dish, you can watch college football all day when you are in the lot. Don't forget to go into Mountaineer Field for kickoff.

And there is, of course, the RV. Never underestimate the convenience of having your own hopper.

5. A few more notes on tailgating.

The lots open at 7 a.m. if you don't have an RV pass. There are plenty of places to park if you don't show up early, but there are some pretty good spots that demand an early arrival time to secure.

Don't steal someone's tailgate spot. If you have noticed that someone parks in the same spot for years, don't show up one day and take that spot. There is no rule about that, but it is just courtesy to not swoop on on somen=one's traditional spot. Some people have been parking in the same spot for twenty years. They are always in line at 7:00 in the morning. Don't jump their claim.

According to the parking pass, you must be out of the lot two hours after the game. I have never seen this rule enforced strictly. We routinely stay four or five hours after a game in the lot to party.

This isn't meant to be a lecture to anyone. Everyone goes to the football game to have a good time. Some people choose different ways to have a good time. Just be conscious of people around you, and everyone will have a good time.

See you August 31 at 7 a.m.


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