Commentary: Game day etiquette extends into fall season

Being a Trojan is all about school spirit, especially on game days. This isn’t, however, your high school variety of spirit. We’re proud because we dominate in whatever area we set out to conquer: You know, Arrogant Nation and all that Spirit of Troy fanfare.

We’re expected to bleed cardinal and gold and shout the SoCal Spellout at the top of our lungs, and we do so gladly. Admittedly, we pay the most attention to football game days, but our dedication also applies to any sporting event. Supporting fellow Trojans is what makes our collegiate community so strong.

Since it’s fall and the end zone is begging to be entered, however, this will be your guide to having the best football game day that our fine learning establishment has to offer.

Anybody can buy a ticket and go to a football game. Fans across the country do it all the time. But to really have the full University of Southern California football experience, there’s a certain way to go about it.

Pro tip: You will be neither cool nor alternative by refusing to wear school colors. Even if you don’t want to mainstream it with your bookstore best, implement cardinal and gold into what you’re wearing. Nobody wants to be that awkward blue or green speck in the cardinal-dominated student section.

One of the most vital aspects of a successful game day is having close comrades to join you in pigskin-themed misadventures. Who else will help you find the tents giving away free alcohol or share a bacon-wrapped hotdog? A certain empowerment accompanies a walk through campus on game day, flanked by your friends and awash in the sounds of impending victory.

In that moment, you will know what being a Trojan means: invincibility as a result of genuine camaraderie and hard-earned pride.

Before heading out, it’s not a bad idea to indulge in a couple of drinks — provided you’re 21, of course. The objective of “pre-gaming,” as many undergrads refer to it, is reaching that point where everything is pleasantly fuzzy and your inhibitions are let a little more loose. That way, you can join the rest of the rowdy ’SC fans and not know the difference between sounding like a raving savage or a pumped-up student. It’s also beneficial to be involved with a school organization or know a family of alumni so that you’re granted access to the free food and drink found underneath the many Trousdale tents.

Game day offers a veritable smorgasbord of fine dining: chips and salsa, barbecue hot off the grill and food trucks parked outside the Coliseum. A beverage staple of game day is sketchy jungle juice, a delicious  alcoholic concoction that consists of whatever’s lying around. The variable nature of jungle juice can be both terrifying and rewarding, so beware. If you’re feeling slightly less adventurous, beer is always plentiful. You can find it in red cups, gold cups, coolers and especially in triangle formation on beer pong tables. Game day is never short on the booze.

The Spirit of Troy is definitely our greatest source of school pride, and for good reason — nobody can resist the thumping rhythm of “Tribute to Troy.” Starting at Heritage Hall and continuing to the Coliseum, the band always energizes the crowd with its slew of fan favorites.

Another important Trojan tradition is kicking the lampposts for good luck before crossing Exposition Boulevard. Whether it symbolizes us kicking the other team to the curb or forms tradition from a clumsy mistake, you must do it.

Choosing where to sit inside the Coliseum is more important than picking a lunch table in elementary school. For a USC student, there are really only two acceptable options: the Sundeck or the student section. Both are great choices because they offer different perspectives from which to view our team. Within these designated student areas, it is also tradition that with every touchdown, willing girls are tossed above the fans’ heads to match the number of points scored — who said chivalry was dead?

Watching our football team emerge from the locker rooms onto the field is a sight to behold. As the announcer introduces the athletes and the band plays the USC fight song, the stadium instantly fills with a tangible excitement. Our hearts race with those of the players because we know we’re the best and we want to show it. Some might call it arrogance, but we carry ourselves with confidence on the field, around the field and off the field  — because we’ve earned it.

Now that you’ve reached your Coliseum seat after a day of successful tailgating, all that’s left to do is watch the game, enjoy the awesome halftime show and leave the stadium flashing the victory sign.