Carolina Cup, the premier event of the spring semester for Carolina college students, returns tomorrow in Camden, S.C., and Bros and belles from USC, Clemson, Wilmington, ECU, Wingate, and UNC are all busy preparing for debauchery. For those who have never had the pleasure of attending Carolina Cup, it's best described as a season of football tailgates jammed into one glorious day. Even the northern Bros nostalgic for days of Preakness past bite the bullet on this day and celebrate the traditions of the Old South. Apparently there are a few horse races during the day but the real highlight is the Greek Row of fraternities from the Carolinas raging under tents no matter the weather, which is usually a downpour of rain. If tomorrow is your first Carolina Cup I suggest you keep reading and follow a few of these helpful tips I have for the eager first timer.
1. Dress Southern Fratty. As I said already, the attire is key and what makes Carolina Cup the celebration that it is. It's important for Bros to put on their best pastel Vineyard Vines button down, khaki pants, and a fresh pair of Sberry's. Accessories include your Carolina Croakies attached to brand new Costa Stingers and a crisp Palmetto Tree belt. A Polo windbreaker is optional but recommended due to the recent run of terrible weather Cup has had.
2. Stock The Cooler. As is the standard procedure for massive gatherings of college students, drinking heavily is a main component of the day. For most attendees, the buses leave the Frat Castle at 9 a.m., which means the raging starts at 8. However, your gonna need to last all day so a handle of Southern Comfort and case of Bud Heavy is a great play (yes, that's just for you, and maybe your date if she's lucky).
3. Teach Your Date. If this is your first Carolina Cup, there is a good chance it's your date's first time too. You need to make it clear to her that it is her job to retrieve your booze for the day and she must be in her best sundress and her biggest sun hat. Also, you should remember that if you picked a dud and she's not up to standards at Cup, there are hundreds of beautiful southern belles at your disposal all day long.
4. Protect Your Tent. At the Carolina Cup, your frat house becomes your tent, and you have to honor it in the same way you do on campus. Having an impenetrable Fortress of Rage will show all the young ladies just how awesome you and your Bros are. Also remember that your fraternity's and South Carolina's flag should be waving high atop a strong bamboo flagpole. The higher the better.
5. What Horse Race? Whatever you do at your first Cup, do not be that guy who actually shows interest in watching the races. Personally, I have been to Cup three times and have yet to see so much as a single horse. Chances are you will hear no mention of the races with the exception of the faint sound of the race announcer competing with 60 amped-up PA systems pouring out Toby Keith. That reminds me: your gonna need that tailgate generator if your gonna have music flowing all day.
6. Cookout. Obviously an event like this will include tossing your biggest Char-Broil grill in the bed of you pick-up truck and stocking a cooler tight with burgers and dogs. Don't worry about preparing your food — the pledges' most important role at Cup is cooking up some amazing BBQ.
7. Embrace the Rain. I am only mentioning weather again because the heavy rainfall has become so expected that in recent years, Cup has earned a reputation for being a Woodstock style mud mess. I've seen everything from slip-and-slides to mud wrestling so get creative and had a good time. I strongly suggest leaving your iPhone under the tent. That said, the weatherman is predicting sunny skies and temperatures in the low- to mid-60s, so things are already shaping up for a stellar Cup.
8. In Review. Get yourself a date, dress Southern Fratty, and keep the SoCo flowing and I can guarantee that you will have a memorable time at your first Carolina Cup. Be sure to Unleash your Cup stories on Sunday for the entire Brommunity to enjoy.