COVID-19 has taken its toll on all activities, but according to Mississippi State University students, the spirit of game day lives on amidst the new rules and regulations. Students all over campus are still finding ways to cheer on the Bulldogs in a socially distant, safe manner.
Early on, the question of whether or not football was going to continue for the fall season was a huge concern of MSU students and fans. Thankfully, it was announced football season would continue with a later start time but not without many social distancing and sanitizing regulations.
According to the MSU website, the university is in compliance with the CDC for regulations which would make game day safer for every student and staff member. These safety measures include mandatory mask wearing, lowered stadium capacity, enhanced cleaning and sanitation, increased physical distancing and more.
Many students were crushed at the idea of giving up tailgating and having their normal game days completely dismantled. However, these same students are now making the most of this bizarre version of fall football. Students are trying to stay positive throughout the chaos, knowing they are doing their part to keep others safe from further spreading the virus.
Freshman wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture major Madison Eisenhuth has been making the best of her experience here at MSU. Instead of traditional tailgating, a few of her friends participated in what they call dorm tailgating, which included watching the game in their room but with traditional food for normal tailgating. With cowbells and snacks, she and a few friends from down the hall sat on the beds and floor to watch MSU's shocking victory over Louisiana State University.
Though Eisenhuth wishes she could experience actual game days and tailgating, she is grateful she gets to experience football season at all.
"Football isn't as big a deal back home, so it doesn't really matter as much to me. I'm just glad I get to be with my friends and sort of experience football season," Eisenhuth said.
"Nothing really bothers me very much," Eisenhuth continued. "I hope that we'll get to go to a football game eventually. I would probably be more upset if I was a senior, but as a freshman, I have more opportunity to go in the upcoming years."
Instead of hanging out in a dorm, junior communication major Haleigh Duke went to a friend's off-campus house for the LSU game.
"My friend cooked chili and brought some other snacks, so we got to eat and have a watch party," Duke said.
In order to be socially distant, the group stayed outside to celebrate the game.
"We're just taking what we can, and I'm thankful we can watch it together still, as long as everything is safe and socially distant," Duke said.
Similarly to Duke, freshman landscape architecture major Charles Suter has been trying to enjoy the new season as much as he can within the constraints of COVID.
"For the first game, I went to the Pike house, so we could spread out and be socially distant. And for the others, I watched the others at my friend's house who lives off campus," Suter said.
According to Suter, the atmosphere is not the same as normal, even though it is better than nothing. With several years left of his college education, he is hopeful for normality in coming athletic seasons, possibly even baseball season this coming spring.
With all the challenges COVID-19 brings to MSU football fans, students have continued to find new ways to enjoy football games by social distancing and respecting the standards of the university. No matter what happens in the future, MSU students will always love football and find ways to support the Dawgs amidst whatever challenges or changes come.