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Column: Your guide for returning to real life sporting events

Hint: It’s not just for the game.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 30 Ohio State at Michigan Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

I was excited to talk the topic of “Which Columbus food or drink staple should be at Ohio Stadium?” on yesterday’s edition of “You’re Nuts” with Brett. It made it feel like being in a stadium is so close! While the shock and indignation I expressed was around the fact that there was no ice cream at Ohio Stadium, a less salient, underlying sentiment was also at play.

IMHO, ice cream seems like a good idea. Because in the last year, I’ve had ice cream while watching a lot of sporting events, even in the dead of winter. Because I could eat whatever I wanted. Because I was watching them from home.

Thinking about this lead to a sad fact sinking in: I’d completely forgotten how to be a sports fan in public.

So if you’re like me, and need reminders on how to be have in public sporting events, here are 13 handy tips to help you through your next irl game:

No. 1: Get your tickets early. Don’t miss out on going to the game you really wanted to see. You can’t just pull up a channel guide and watch whatever you want when you’re doing it in person.

No. 2: Don’t dump opposing fans in garbage cans. Even if they’re wearing different colors than you. I know that it’s been over a year, and we might not remember what is socially acceptable, but trust me, there is nearly no situation in which throwing someone into a trash can is appropriate.

No. 3: Introduce yourself to your seatmates, and remember, we’re all a little anxious. Your spouse, kids, and/or roommates know your name, but you’re not just watching games with them anymore.

No. 4: Get there early. Getting back into the swing of in-person game attendance may take some time to navigate. Give yourself the freedom to remember how this all works so you can enjoy the game again.

No. 5: Tailgate with your friends. Because after a year of watching games in isolation, we better never take seeing them, being able to drink with them, or hug them before a game for granted again.

No. 6: Wear comfortable shoes. Because walking around the game should be comfortable. And who says you have to give up the sweatpants either? Be as comfortable as you want to be!

No. 7: Dogs aren’t allowed in the stadium. But they are on the couch. And they make the game that much better. So choose wisely, my friends.

No. 8: Parking can be a nightmare. Sometimes it’s better to walk to the game, especially if there is going to be drinking involved. But remember top No. 6 if you are going to walk.

No. 9: If you do something stupid, it will get caught on camera. So let’s all work to be our best selves at the game. And if you do screw up, apologize. While your coffee table won’t complain if you kick it when Ohio State gives up a touchdown, but the guy sitting in front of you will.

No. 10: Wear sunscreen. We’ve all been burned before, but we can do better moving forward. And remember, just because it’s cloudy doesn’t mean those UVA rays can’t find you.

No. 11: Be prepared for that awkward moment on the kiss cam. But hey, isn’t being in love the best part of the game?

No. 12: Take your bathroom breaks strategically. You can’t pause games when you’re in the stadium, and you don’t want to miss anything.

No. 13: Take in the crowd. Enjoy it. While it might be weird to be back with that many people, remember you’re not alone in this, literally or figuratively.

So for those of you who forgot if salads are normal things to eat at football games or if you have to wear jeans instead of sweatpants; for those who haven’t been in a sizable crowd or in over-capacity public transportation in a year; for those who haven’t heard the heart-pounding roar of 100,000 voices cheering in unison, remember, it’s okay to feel not okay. But we’ll get through it, because there is nothing as exciting and electric as actually being at a game.

And for the record, I still think ice cream is a good idea. Let’s get on it.