Staff picks: Favorite game day traditions


Wyeth Wilson

Checker Neyland is quickly becoming one of Knoxville’s favorite game day traditions.

Every tradition is unique and important to those who participate, and one of the most important types of traditions is a game day tradition. Whether it’s Friday night football, the Super Bowl, or a weekend long affair, each tradition makes the sporting event even better than before.

While many people cheer on the Volunteers on Saturdays in Neyland Stadium in the fall, I travel to another city to reveal my game day tradition. Every Friday night after covering Bearden football games or early on Saturday morning, I travel to Boone, North Carolina, to cheer on my parents’ and brother’s alma mater: the Appalachian State Mountaineers. Boone has been a part of my life and has been what my weekends have consisted of since I could walk. Through the years, some traditions have faded while others have surfaced. My brother has now since graduated, so my dad and I spend game days together playing cornhole, listening to football on his satellite radio, and eating Bojangles. After the game, we always meet my mom somewhere in Boone for dinner. [Tyler Hotz]

Sports aren’t really my family’s thing, unless it’s the FIFA World Cup or the Olympics, of course. So when the Olympics come around, we always make a chocolate cake with white icing and put the five rings on it in M&Ms. [Allie Gruszkiewicz]

In the Matthews’ household, the Super Bowl is an important event that surprisingly isn’t really about the football. Every year, my mom makes a giant feast with chili, nachos, french fries, chips and dip, and tons of delicious game-day food while I provide dessert, which are football cupcakes, and we chow down throughout the whole day. The only oddity is that we don’t actually watch the game except for the halftime show, and we don’t invite anyone to share our food with us. [Katie Matthews]

My Dad is a big baseball fan, and when that season comes around, that is all he thinks and talks about. My sister, mom, and I don’t really get into it as much as he does, so on nights that there are really important games, we just reserve him a TV and leave him be for the rest of the night. The only way we know he’s still alive, is when he yells at the TV about a play or run or whatever you call it. [Madison Tenney]

University of Tennessee football is pretty much my favorite thing in the world, so naturally, I attend almost every home game, as well as one or two away games every season. I usually attend games with my dad, and we have a set routine for game days on the UT campus. We start off by walking from our parking spot by Neyland Stadium to the Strip, to take in the scene on campus. Depending on what time kickoff is, we always eat a meal at the student center and watch other games on the TVs, and then enter the stadium exactly one hour before the game starts. Tennessee hasn’t exactly been great on the field for the past decade (just wait, we’re about to be good), but the seven to eight game days in a year in Knoxville are still my favorite seven to eight days of the year. [Wyeth Wilson]

My game day tradition isn’t much, but it’s something we do when with my grandparents. My mom, grandma, grandpa, and I like to pop popcorn during half time. We don’t pop the bagged popcorn; we pull out the big popcorn maker and do it old school. [Cassidy Bailey]

I’m not really into watching games on television, and I rarely go to live games, but I do love attending Bearden football games. It’s a big deal among my friends to go out to eat after, as well. It’s just a good chance to talk about the game and debrief after our long weeks. [Maggie Kimber]