Cheering For a Bad Football Team

Of course, this year, I won’t need to heed my own words. All of the supposed building years, the new coach, and the “great recruiting classes” we have had for the past 5 years will finally come together for a really great season. I can feel it, mainly because as I type my team has only played its season opener, which it won easily. The key, in my experience as a fan of the same ACC team since a point in my childhood where I didn’t even know what a “down” was, is to develop a choreographed routine for game days so that by halftime, you are either intoxicated enough and/or deep enough in an alternate reality that the loss will not bother you as much as it should.

Naturally all of my readers are of legal drinking age. Therefore, I can not recommend highly enough starting with a good boozy brunch to help kill the lingering anxiety from last weekend, in which, say, Duke beat you. Figuratively. Mimosas are standard and ladylike. A pitcher probably makes more sense than ordering them individually. You’ll also want to seize the opportunity to prepare your flask for the game- I always preferred bourbon to mix with a diet coke from the concession stand and eventually drink straight, but I’ve been surprised with a pull of everything from dark spiced rum to Rumplemintz. Just save the vodka for later, you’ll need it.

Another key to game day is going to be developing other goals for the event that do not have anything to do with the football score. Turning it into a social event which happens to include a football game allows a much needed distance from the bloodbath in the stadium, and of course tons of pictures of you with your girlfriends in flattering afternoon light in a fabulous game day outfit. Plan out which tailgates you will be hitting, and have a contingency plan should you decide it’s not actually worth it to go into the stadium or stay past half time, because, honestly, it’s probably going to be kind of depressing. Pretending to listen to the game on the radio while stepping your drinking up in the parking lot is a great option, as you do not have to admit to yourself that you have given up on the game and can just plead alcoholism.

After your day of moderate to heavy drinking, you might be tempted to try for the nap and rally in order to give you some much-needed energy for the evening. I did not once execute this successfully. At best, I’d end up ordering pizza with my friends and watching a movie together, but if you really want to try it, far be it from me to stop you. What is more likely to work is a big greasy dinner, a switch back to beer to “sober up”, and a crushed up adderall redbull or 5 hour energy. After dinner, you’ll have the weird bar crowd that always happens after football games, which is generally about half blacked out visiting alums, 40% of the usuals who seem impervious to the supposed depressant effects of alcohol, and 10% randos who for some reason pick game day to make their only bar trip of the semester. Enjoy the sloppy makeout with the senior you had a crush on first year. I heard he’s an investment banker now. There was a football game?

Finally, the most important defense mechanism to develop for a football team “in a building year” is to develop some other form of superiority over the opposing team that has nothing to do with the football team. Academics are the go-to here, but get creative! Insult the trolls they decided to put cheerleading uniforms on, the town where the school is located, their inferiority in whatever sport your school is good at, and, if you have been drinking heavily enough, how dumb their quarterback’s name is. The options here are endless. And Sunday, maybe make plans to hit a road game where they’re playing Southwest Appalachian State and should be able to win. You’ll need the pick-me-up.


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