For some of us, our first Game Day experience occurred when we were too young to remember anything but feeling like the tallest person at California Memorial Stadium.
On the shoulders of a parent or tossed into the air like a Hail Mary, we felt our brief moment of levity synchronized with a boom from the hills followed by an immediate crescendo of cheers and the flash of Golden State sun reflecting off the raised woodwinds and horns in the student section to the left. Falling back down into the pom-pom cushioned arms of our Cal shaman, we were baptized in a sea of blue and gold and instantaneously initiated into this vociferous and political group of people who worship the Promised Land with cult-like fervor.
At the time, we were unknowing of the fact that with the drunken high fives we received from older Cal fans came the microscopic transfer of antibodies against Stanford through the skin and into the blood, that the strange song they were singing about Harry and Mary would later become a personal ringtone and that this moment of happiness would initiate an unhealthy obsession and come to epitomize our destiny.
Whether it was an essential element in your holistic development, a fun outing with your friends from school or a milestone you blindly stumbled upon as a freshmen here at UC Berkeley, the first Game Day experience is incredibly special.
Yet at the college level, participating in such a wild event requires planning. We at the Clog have compiled a list of Game Day essentials for you to plan and pack the night before your alarm clock goes off at 6:30 a.m. on that golden Saturday.
- Diaper: Let’s be real. You’re going to be hydrating a lot on these days. Between the booze, the chaser and the water, you’ll need to keep thriving during these blazing Indian summer Saturdays, you’re going to have to be making a lot of bathroom stops. While there is a line of outhouses right behind the student section, it’s definitely not convenient to walk up and down those stairs 12 times a game and risk losing your spot, missing a big play or subjecting yourself to the precarious nature of stumbling up and down Memorial Stadium stairs. And that brings us to our next item
- Band-Aids and Neosporin: The odds of you falling and drawing blood at some point in the day are very high. Whether it’s going headfirst down Pike’s signature inflatable waterslide, tripping on the way to buy chicken strips at halftime or getting in a fight after the game if you’ve been taunted, it’s always a good idea to be prepared.
- A helmet: Similarly, for those of us who tend to always go next-level, wearing a helmet the entire day could be the answer for you. This way, you can go gonzo and still remain safe! Maybe someone will even think you’re on the team.
- Fruit and pastries you’ve been hoarding from Cafe 3: It’s no secret that Cafe 3 has the best pastries out of all the dining commons. Do yourself a favor and hoard some of those mini croissants, coffee cakes and donuts the Friday before a home game. Throw them in your survival pack and power eat before and during the pregame. Totally free, totally necessary.
- Face tattoos: Obviously, put one on yourself first. Carry the pack around and find people who want to get tatted. You’ll be a hero.
- Ear plugs: Cruise and booze with your fellow students before the game without having to hear the ear poison emanating out of every house on Piedmont Avenue, Channing Way and Durant Avenue. Win the party without selling your soul.
- Free sunglasses from Sproul Plaza: It’s just a fact that your glasses will be broken or gone by the end of the day. Hopefully, it’s because you were celebrating a touchdown, but honestly anything can cause it. One time, we saw a pair of blue and gold plastic Calapalooza shades chillin’ in the bottom of the Porta Potty overlooking section SS.
- Cash: This is absolutely necessary for postgame Top Dog or street food. Pro tip: Divide your cash and place it in different places — such as your front pockets, back pockets, shoe and bra. You’re bound to become disheveled, and gravity will probably conquer the forces holding those bills in your pockets, so it’s good to give yourself backup cash.
- A token freshman: This is an essential. A freshman can get you two vitally important things. First, their ticket — freshmen get free admission to games, but few of them actually make it to the game. Snag their ID and get free access into the stadium. Second, their meal plan — many stands inside Memorial Stadium (including one that sells old-fashioned, UC Berkeley circa 2014 chicken strips) are affiliated with CalDining and take meal points. Find a freshman inside the stadium whose judgment is iffy enough to buy you and your crew munchies for the rest of the game.
- Fake ID: You’ll need one for postgame celebration at the bars after all the parties die down because, you know, the frats don’t actually attend the games.
- Real ID: In case anything, I don’t know, real happens to you?
- Cal ID: It’s essential for access into everything — parties, the game, the dining hall, the bus.
- A granola bar: It’s only like eight dollars cheaper than buying a pretzel in the stadium. When that 12 p.m. carb craving hits, be prepared.
- Waterproof iPhone case: You need to prepare for all situations. You’ll definitely drop your phone multiple times, so a case is required.
- Mophie case, battery pack or charger: If you want your phone to stay alive past 11:30 a.m. (because of irresponsible use in the morning and draining the battery on lack of WiFi and reception once you’re in the stadium) you’ve always got to be charging.
- Keys: Put them around your wrist, in your hair, on your shoelace — anywhere where they’re secure.
- iPhone location sharing: It’s impossibly annoying to try to describe to your drunk friends where you’re sitting in the student section. Location sharing isn’t perfect, but it helps for general location. And it also tells your friends if you’re in the stadium or on the streets.
- A couple of tools to ensure that you keep lookin’ good — even through sweat, tears and cheap champagne that’s been sprayed on you:
- Dry shampoo
- Hair ties
- A good game day hat or sunscreen
- Flask: If you’re drinking, this ensures that your alcohol is safe and allows you to sustain a buzz throughout the entire day. This makes the postgame nap and rally a little bit easier.
- A pre-drafted text on your phone to help you avoid people you don’t want to see: This will be great to use on your “friends” from high school, ex-roommates, professors or even your parents. Type it out in Notes first: “Hey… so sorry this is so late but I’m in the library writing an essay today. Turning off my WiFi to avoid distraction … Let’s get burritos next week.” Or something like that. Trust us, you never know who you’re going to have to hide from.
- Free space on your phone: Free space is completely necessary so you can take pictures. Don’t you want your kids to be able to see young you in blue and gold glitzed, blitzed and ditzed?
- Lyrics to Cal drinking song: It will definitely be performed pregame, midgame and postgame at the frats, on the street, by the alumni and led by the mic men. We’ve taught you how it’s done, now do it.
Alright, now you should be prepared. Print out this list on a Friday night, pack up your survival pack the night before and get ready to rock and roll.
Contact Natalie Silver at [email protected].