Sports take: How to survive the Baylor Line

Since 1970, baby Baylor bears have been trying their luck sprinting across the field to kick off home football games. Lariat File Photo

By Jessika Harkay | Sports Writer

Gold jerseys with nicknames engulf your vision. Sweat from the people around you mixes with yours. The new hype video plays on the big screen to your right as the words “whoa oh oh oh” are chanted and your eyes lock onto the human-wall holding thousands of new freshman behind it. The words from an upperclassmen you met the other day repeat in your head — “don’t trip.” In three…two…one…book it!

If this vaguely sounds familiar, you likely ran the Baylor Line before.

If you’re prepping for Saturday Aug. 31 and your first run, here’s some of the best advice from someone who’s avoided falling, dehydrating (for the most part) and survived one of the best traditions Baylor has to offer.

Don’t look back. Don’t stop. Run.

If there’s one thing you’ll get out of this article, just run. The only good that will come from looking back is a cool picture of your classmates screaming for a second, but most of the time this is how many students end up in the fetal position trying to protect themselves from being run over. If someone falls near you, keep going. Careful of the people around you, but helping someone back up is hard when you’re trying to keep moving and prevent other people from tripping over you or pushing you down too. If you stay focused on your footing and getting to the end zone, you have absolutely no reason to worry.

Create a mental map.

Something that helped my roommate and me successfully stay together was creating a mental map and holding hands. If you decide to run with someone, make sure you have a similar speed and game plan discussed before. The best thing you can do is have a plan of where you want to be at the end of the 100 yards. Stick to the edges if you can. It’ll help you avoid the inevitable hundreds of unfortunate kids who end up tripping or being accidentally pushed down. In all seriousness, have an idea of the direction you want to head in, who you want to follow and where you want to end up in the human tunnel and bleachers.

If you want to be in the front, get there an hour or two early. If you’re slower, opt for the back. Honestly, there’s nothing that will pique your adrenaline more than being in the front of the line and feeling as if you’re running for your life, but that isn’t for everyone.

If you’re up for the challenge and enduring the heat for a bit longer, get there early. Bring a water bottle with you, a little phone fan if you can, and good company. Be prepared to feel a lot of squishing and pushing, but without a doubt, it’s worth it at the end of the night. The memories and stories are incredible to pass down. If you’re a little scared and know you weren’t blessed with speed, aim for the middle or back. It’s just as fun without the intensity.

Dress appropriately.

I cannot stress this enough, especially to my girls. Yes, cowboy boots look cute and so do sandals. But wearing the wrong shoe attire is a guaranteed way to either find yourself on the ground or missing a shoe.

One of the most important things to understand is you’re running with hundreds of other freshmen, so just like if you were running from hundreds of real bears, prepare yourself. Pick comfortable shoes that you can tie up and feel comfortable standing the whole game in.

Wear thin clothing, and avoid thick shirts or multiple articles of clothing. You won’t need anything more than your phone, ID and water bottle.

Hydrate or Die-drate is a real thing. Bring water.

Our excitement often gets the best of us, and we forget to do little things like drinking water. Drink a bunch before you get to McLane Stadium. Bring a water bottle or a little pouch to keep your levels up. When you’re surrounded by so many people, Texas heat and eagerness waiting to run, it feels like an endless sauna. Take care of your bodies. Drink, even if you aren’t thirsty. You’ll thank yourself later.

Lastly, prepare for the most amount of Sic ‘ems you’ll do all year.

The best part of the Baylor Line is the excitement that surrounds you. The amount of school spirit and energy is unmatched. Every few minutes, there’s a different chant or a new Sic ‘em being stirred up. Make friends with the people around you, and realize that this is genuinely your new family for the next few years. Engulf yourself in the moment.

Don’t stress or panic when you run the first time. The experience is mind-blowing. Nothing matches the first football game and being able to see the crowd cheering you on and welcoming you to Baylor Nation. Be safe and Sic ‘em!