Football and #FOMO

By Lindsay Ritenbaugh

I never thought I would be one of those people whose social media is filled with #FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) messages when it comes to college football. I had attended a small private school without a football team for my undergraduate experience so it was never on my radar.

Then I attended graduate school at The University of Florida.

I became quickly immersed in Southeastern Conference (SEC) football culture and became a diehard Gator fan. And no, it wasn’t just because of Tim Tebow or their recent national championship titles. Nevertheless, my new office at DePaul is quickly becoming a small shrine to all things orange and blue and I have certainly cherished the experience of working at a large public university like Florida.

When this post goes live, it will be just TWO DAYS until the return of college football and I’m feeling the #FOMO already. I’ll miss waking up at 6:00 AM to secure an all-day tailgating spot on campus while catching the latest updates from ESPN’s College Gameday on a neighbor’s satellite TV. I’ll miss hearing the Pride of the Sunshine band play as they travel across campus with kickoff quickly approaching. I’ll miss saying, “Go Gators” to fans of all ages as we head over to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. I’ll miss hearing the fight song, standing/cheering/sweating in the scorching student section along with 90,000 of my closest friends, and swaying back and forth while singing a glorious rendition of “We Are The Boys” at the end of the third quarter. I wish there was a way to “apparate” to these games Harry Potter style. Growing up is hard.
I am lucky to have found a way to satisfy my cravings for SEC football while in Chicago. The Windy City Gator Club, a part of the University of Florida Alumni Association, is thriving. I already have plans to join the Windy City Gators and watch the first game with a DePaul colleague (and fellow Florida alumna) at the local Gator bar in town. They are guaranteed to have the game on every big screen TV and will present me with a “Beat [insert opponent’s name]” sticker upon arrival. They also make these pretty cool shirts, which also satisfy my cravings for puns:

The good news is I’ll be back in the stands before too long. I’m flying from Chicago to Tampa to see my family for Thanksgiving—but the first stop on my itinerary is a road trip to Gainesville! Luckily, the two Florida Gator home football games I wanted to see most happen to fall on the last two weekends in November when I had already planned to be in town. The first game is against Georgia Southern University, which is perfect since I completed my National Orientation Directors Association (NODA) internship there with Southern’s Orientation, Advisement, and Registration (SOAR) team in 2012! I’m pumped to see students from both Florida and Georgia Southern and be able to catch up with student affairs professionals and cohort mates while I’m there. The second game is always a favorite—Florida vs. Florida State! This year the game is being played in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, known affectionately as The Swamp—where “only Gators get out alive! To say I am excited is an understatement.

What do you have to look forward to this fall? 

Student Affairs - the First Years

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