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The Daily Tar Heel

A guide to being a Tar Heel sports fan

Being a UNC sports fan is a year-round job. But if you’re just beginning to love the Tar Heels, you might need a cheat sheet.

For some, the life of a fan is a practiced routine:

After stocking up on Carolina blue gear at local stores and chowing down on fried chicken and potato salad at the tailgating table, students, parents and alumni pour into the bleachers of Kenan Stadium to cheer on the Tar Heels.

But freshmen and parents who are new to the sports scene in Chapel Hill might need the guidance from more experienced fans to be able to give their all come kickoff time.

Cheerleaders are one source the crowd can look to for encouragement and tricks of the trade.

Senior cheerleader Mandy Simpson said the team tries to involve fans with simple cheers so new fans should keep a look out for when Simpson and cheerleaders gear up for an interactive cheer.

“The crowd really likes when we yell `Tar’ and `Heels’ back and forth,” Simpson said.

“And we have signs for that, so it works out well.”

There also are certain traditions UNC spectators have come to expect at football games.

Male members of the cheerleading squad do push-ups after UNC scores a touchdown. The team’s score dictates how many push-ups the guys do. So the higher the score, the more push-ups.

“Fans really get pumped up when the guys do push-ups after scoring,” Simpson said.

Ramses, the live ram mascot who represents UNC on the sidelines, is another part of game day excitement.

“When the guys bring in Ramses it’s always really exciting,” Simpson said. “The kids really like him, and he’s important because he provides a visual for people who don’t understand what our mascot is.”

Carolina Fever is a spirit organization for the University focused more on motivating the student fans in the stands.

Fever Spirit Chairwoman Laura Pence said there are several key cheers every Tar Heel needs to learn before attending any type of sporting event.

“The fight song and the alma mater are the ones everyone should know,” Pence said.

“The rest of our cheers are pretty basic, just, `Let’s go Heels’ and stuff like that.”

Fever also organizes body painting for students on game days.

Fans go shirtless, painting letters on their stomachs, and sometimes their backs. “One time last year we had enough people to paint `Let’s go University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,’” Pence said.

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