It’s basically a requirement to either be eating or drinking something when watching sports. Personally, it can be something of a coping mechanism. I get way too invested into sports sometimes. When my eyes are glued to the TV watching the Panthers as they helplessly blow another fourth quarter lead, I need something to help with the inevitable anxiety. A slice of pizza during a commercial break might help. A handful of potato chips and some French onion dip can’t hurt either. And, of course, nothing helps those fourth quarter blues like sipping on a cold beer from the bottom of the cooler.
Other fans aren’t as obsessed, but food and drink is simply a part of the game day festivities. Watching sports—especially one you may only be a casual fan of—just isn’t as fun with a rumbling stomach or a parched mouth. And everyone has their favorite.
Senior Nik Cartwright, who is a professional comedian, told The Carolinian, “Oh, for me, [my favorite] is easily nachos with a crisp, cold Corona, baby.”
Can’t go wrong with that—especially when you’re seeing it live, there’s something that feels just so natural about devouring that melted, processed cheese haphazardly dumped over a small amount of half-stale tortilla chips for an egregious price while watching the best athletes humanity has to offer compete against each other on the field. If you’re lucky enough, the stadium might even give you a few pickled jalapeños on the side. But what cheap nachos would be complete without a bottle of Corona, icy to the touch, maybe a juicy lime jammed down the bottleneck? It’s a match made in heaven.
For social work major Kali Forsythe, her favorite is another classic: “Doritos and Coke.” Doritos might be a little messy for some tastes—those dusty fingers are always a pain to deal with, especially when you’re out in public and can’t just lick them clean without people staring—but who could argue that a can of Coca Cola fresh out of the fridge doesn’t go well with any sport? After all, Coca Cola has spent a fortune on advertising—they spent $3.499 billion on marketing in 2014, with a massive amount of that ensuring they have a solid presence in the sporting world—so they’d hope their product is synonymous with athletics. Seriously, go to any professional match in America and you’ll see the Coke logo plastered all over the place, and for good reason: it’s a perfect combo, especially if you aren’t 21 yet or don’t drink. Unless you’re one of those Pepsi-drinking heretics, Coke and sports go as well together as salt and pepper.
Sophomore Allison Schwiegerhat has a go to that also includes Coke. “I rarely watch sports but if I do I’m a sucker for soft pretzels with beer cheese and a big cup of classic Coke. I enjoy those when I attend an MLB game.” That indeed sounds like the perfect way to spend the afternoon, and what could be more American that eating pretzels, drinking Coke, and watching baseball? Okay, the pretzel and cheese might not be American, but isn’t America a melting pot of not only different people and sports, but also different kinds of cheese?
For some of the more invested fans, stuffing your face and drinking at the game isn’t a part of the fun; it’s a way to prevent cardiac arrest when your team is trailing late in the fourth quarter. For others, it’s just another way to add to the experience, an excuse to splurge on some extra carbs and have a drink or two. For others still—you know, the ones who were dragged to the game by their families or significant other—it might just be a way to deal with the boredom. Whatever boat you find yourself in, you’ll always need your favorite drink and snack in hand when you watch the big game.