The fight songs have begun to blare, blasted with zeal from proud brass trumpets as raucous fans once again begin to congregate in their fortresses of team pride and vociferously cheer on their teams to unvarnished victory. It’s that time of the year, football season and the inextricable part of any football game, the seminal ritual of tailgating. Laughing with friends, militantly arguing about the merits and demerits of a rival squad, and consuming vast quantities of sumptuous food and spirits are blissfully percolating across the landscape. In that spirit, here are our tips for the ideal tailgating experience.
If you are an ardent fan of any team, you likely have identified a preferred spot to organize your tailgate. Yet, one potential hazard to your idyllic tailgate is another zealous fan capturing a spot in your designated area prior to your arrival. It is therefore imperative to arrive punctually, your tailgating party in tow, to ensure your place in your “tailgate comfort zone.” Set your alarms, turn on Google maps to avoid any pernicious traffic, and prepare for a day of frivolity.
Pro Tip: Make sure your tailgating party are as dedicated and reliable as you. One lazy, flighty, tailgater can dampen your aspiration to achieve your desired location at the stadium.
Enlist the Services of a Talented Cook
I, for one, am not Emeril or Rachel Ray. My cooking vocabulary consists of making a sandwich or microwaving a pizza. Those are flimsy concoctions for an event as cherished and hallowed as a weekend tailgate. It may take a single tailgate, or it may take a cacophony of tailgates, but place your taste buds on high alert, and detect among your party the most precocious chef. Shower him, or her, with superfluous praise to properly encourage them to expand their culinary labors further and supply evermore dishes for consumption.
Pro Tip: This is more of a rudimentary tip but come prepared with the appropriate cooking equipment to make sure your dishes turn out as desired. Additionally, don’t be bashful about sending delectable recipes to the chef, playfully chiding them for potentially not being able to cook it properly. There’s no better motivator for them to bring the dish to your proceeding tailgate.
Big Screen for a Big Event – Tips for the Ideal Tailgating Experience
Yes, you can have a tailgate without lugging that big screen television with you but for the ultimate experience, you need that large digital delight. How else will you keep yourself apprised of the progress of the day’s games? And, additionally, what better way to engender convivial banter about the garishness of Oregon’s uniforms, or decry the apparent agelessness of Tom Brady? It’s a necessity to have a television on-hand for proper, and often coarse, discourse on football to escalate and ensue.
Pro Tip: Bring a portable power station for your television. There is nothing more frustrating than staring at a blank television set, wistfully ruminating on the outcome of critical contests. On the bright side though, if the person in charge of the generator forgets it, you have six hours or more of conversation with your tailgate buddies.
What can I say? I’m a ne’er-do-well, a loafer, a booze-loving bandit on game-days. When it comes to spirits, I’m similarly a relative simpleton: A Vodka-Coke or cold beer makes me a complacent camper. However, others have more refined tastes, and many among us take ample pride in mixing a fine cocktail. Maybe a member of your party is particularly adept at fashioning a refreshing margarita. Perhaps another is especially familiar with a tasty Bloody Mary recipe, garnished with a celery stick. Or mayhap a resident prude is lurking among you, willing to offer you a taste of their expensive champagne. Whatever the case, pinpoint your bartender to supply it all.
Pro Tip: Themed tailgates are great. Cater your drinks to your tailgate’s theme. For example, if you’re a fan of the Vikings, why not decorate your tailgate with a drink called the “Purple Viking.” Cheers.
Don’t Forget to Say “Cheese”
Disregard, for a moment, the child-like impulse to plaster a collection of narcissistic selfies across your Instagram commemorating your tailgating experience. Tailgating is a communal event, a rare opportunity to revel in the community of your fellow derelict and uproarious fans. Pull out your cameras, or your camera-phones, do your utmost to gather your wayward band of fellow fans together and snap a memorable photo. The “likes” will come streaming in on social media.
Pro Tip: For those of you tailgating parties who have been congregating for years, a jovial scrapbook can, in time, be fashioned featuring all your most enjoyable moments. There’s nothing like nostalgia.
Be Proud, Not Anonymous – Tips for the Ideal Tailgating Experience
Any red-blooded football fan would find it the height of heresy to nonchalantly traipse into a football stadium, or tailgating lot, garbed in casual wear insufficiently displaying their affinity for their team. That is a fool’s errand, a barter with the devil himself. Do not be an anonymous fan, wear your team’s colors obnoxiously, hubristically, unscrupulously.
Pro Tip: The more outlandish the get-up, the better. You’ll have more fun and spark more conversation. A zany outfit is almost always preferable to a more anodyne one. Look no further than this crazy Raiders fan.
I’m from Southern California. As you might imagine, we consider games in the 60’s to be akin to the frigid Arctic. Fortunately, most of our contests are played in sunny Autumn weather, somewhere in the vicinity of 80 to 90 degrees. This, however, presents somewhat of a conundrum. Especially if your tailgate is in the afternoon, which the vast majority are, it can become swelteringly hot. It’s therefore wise to bring a tent to propagate a more moderate enclosure of shade. Heck, even the architects of the recently constructed SoFi stadium caught on to this piece of sagacity and built a dome over the structure to more comfortably accommodate the Rams fanbase.
Pro Tip: Purchase a tent bearing the emblems, or the mascot, of your respective team. It’ll add to the day’s ambience.
Games, games, games. Even a tailgate needs small diversions from football and alternate iterations of competition. Corn-hole, beer pong, horseshoe, a friendly game of ultimate frisbee, or touch-football. Heck, you could even bring a football-themed version of Trivial Pursuit! Or compare sports cards collections! The possibilities are endless, provided you have the requisite creativity.
Pro Tip: Make sure any game you bring is interactive in nature. No one wants to play a game of corn-hole in solitude.
Radio GaGa – Tips for the Ideal Tailgating Experience
I want to rock! ROCK (rock)! I want to rock. A tailgate, aside from celebrating football, is really a simple, mundane excuse to have a party. And what party is ever somnolent and peaceful? That’s the antithesis of a party, it’s more of a solemn church service. So, bring your speakers, craft a playlist, and don’t be bashful about blasting your tunes.
Pro Tip: If you’re a college football fan, be sure to include a rendition of your college’s fight song on your respective playlist.
Full disclosure: I am one of you. Though I’m privier to college football, I enjoy the sport in all its grandiose manifestations. It is, apart from March Madness, my favorite few months of the sporting calendar.
So, we encourage all of you gridiron goons to return to experience your tailgate in style. Cheer on your team and enjoy America’s favorite past-time to the greatest extent possible.