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Rivalry Weekend: Tailgating Essentials To Beat The Trojans In Style

The date is set, ping-pong balls are packed and glitter tattoos are purchased…it’s rivalry weekend time! Saturday, November 20th will see the highly anticipated 91st meeting between the highly competitive D1 football rivals UCLA and USC, as they play for the historical Victory Bell currently under possession of the Trojans. In the 2019 season, USC shut down UCLA at the Rose Bowl 43-38, but with new players and a fresh determination roiling through their veins, the Bruins are hoping to return the Victory Bell to its rightful place in Westwood this year. 

While the game promises to be a nail-biter, we all know the real fun happens beforehand at the Coliseum tailgate in central Los Angeles. To make sure you get the most out of the tailgate and weekend as a whole, I’ve composed a tailgating guidebook to get you ready for the biggest game of the season. Trust me, you won’t want to miss it!

Outfit Choice

Anyone attending school here in Westwood knows that there are some seriously slim pickings for game-day gear, but lucky for you there are tons of ways to amp up your style game without hitting the UCLA store the day before. All you have to do is stick with the blue, gold and white color scheme, so let your imagination do the rest for you! Host a tie-dye party on the Hill the day before to make some unique crop tops or hoodies. Wear solid colors and hit the accessories hard with bucket hats, beaded necklaces, boas or bandanas! Hit up Target or Party City for UCLA stickers, temporary tattoos, face paint and colored hair spray. If you want some Instagram-worthy pictures from the tailgate, you’re gonna need to get creative with your outfit. Don’t settle for the same navy blue “UCLA Bruins” hoodie everyone and their mother owns; you’re better than that.

Owning it in the tailgate games and activities

Be honest with yourself, are you really good at cup pong and corn-hole or are you just good at forgetting the five games you lost in a row? Never fear, you can still dominate the tailgating activities and have tons of fun by preparing yourself beforehand. Buy some red solo cups (or even use your trash can) and practice tossing quarters or ping pong balls in them in your dorm. You can also practice for corn-hole by using a rolled-up ball of socks! More than that, it’s all in partner choice. Make sure you pick someone who has even more talent than you so you can ride their coattails the whole way through (because really that’s probably your best bet if you want to win). And there you go, you’ll be undefeated! Cup pong and corn-hole champ has such a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

Making friends and meeting new people
friends at tailgate
Ashley Ha

The third and most important part of the tailgate is…*drumroll please*…putting yourself out there so you can meet tons of new people! Tailgating is a great way to meet other UCLA students and make new friends, you just have to be willing to go outside of your comfort zone a little bit. Compliment someone on their outfit choice, ask someone new to be your partner in a cup pong battle to the death or (most intimidatingly) just join in on conversations with other groups of students. This is a social event, people want to meet people. And if it’s really intimidating for you, bring along a friend when you introduce yourself to others so it’s not so scary. Some good conversation topics are: 

1) Who they think is going to win the game. You’re here to watch football, so talk football! 

2) Discussing plans for winter break since fall quarter is almost over; see if you have any common interests or plans. 

3) The cliché and much-overused college student introduction. You know what I’m talking about: the beginning of every conversation ever on campus and at school events. Name, grade, major, etc….  

The UCLA versus USC rivalry has been ongoing for nearly a century, so don’t waste an opportunity to join in on a weekend full of fun traditions and exciting, new experiences with your friends. The tailgate and game are what you make of it, so have the time of your life! And remember to rep UCLA, be loud at the game and show all the Trojans why we are number one. Go Bruins!

Grace LaPlante is currently a third-year English major at UCLA. She’s a literature lover, music enthusiast and sports fanatic with dreams of traveling the world someday.
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