Tailgating. To my grandmother and my mother, this word means driving too close to the person in front of you on the road. To legions of younger people, tailgating is the chance to party before a big game, a concert, or even a wedding. It’s a chance to meet new people and bond over your love of sports or music, and to eat some really good food at the same time.
One could call the tailgate party a time honored tradition, but that’s not exactly accurate. At least, it hasn’t been pinpointed when exactly the first ingenious individual decided she was fed up with paying $10 for a pint of beer inside a stadium, but the idea took off and gained momentum. So much so that some venues forbid tailgating in their parking lots before events. A tailgate party is a lot like a block party, where the common thread between the participants is their geographic location.
Tailgate parties can also be sanctioned parts of sporting events, and be sponsored by athletic clubs or sports teams. These kind of parties usually raise money for school teams or charities with games and raffles. The common theme for all of these parties is community.
But maybe you’re wondering about the logistics of cooking food out of the back of your truck without setting your hair on fire? The easiest way is to ditch the propane grill and get yourself a nice charcoal grill. With charcoal you don’t have to worry about highway tunnel restrictions either. A surefire way to have all your parking lot neighbors drooling is to fire up that grill and cook up some Angus burgers with cheddar cheese. Don’t have the time to plan a menu? Never fear, some creative people have come up with tailgating gift baskets so all you have to do is rip open the packaging.
What’s the proper attire for tailgating? Of course it’s your team’s jersey! How better to identify those with whom you can bond over your love of the Packers, Patriots, Panthers, Cowboys, Steelers, or Seahawks? Maybe you can identify each other by the color of your face paint or foam fingers, but the jersey is by far the easiest way to not only show your support for your team, but to pick out your new best friends for the day.
If you don’t have tickets for the game but want to party anyway, don’t skip the tailgate area! You can always set up a TV under a tent with some folding chairs or beanbag chairs on a blanket in the parking lot. It’s guaranteed that you won’t be the only ones with that idea, and this is a good way to keep the party going with the friends you already met before the game.
Don’t forget to bring a couple games to make the time pass faster! Cornhole is always a favorite, but what is tailgating at a football game without having a football to toss around? Boring, that’s what. They even make footballs with your favorite team’s logo on them, and ones that glow in the dark that are useful for when your tailgate party goes into the wee hours.
So grab your coolers, grills, foam fingers, and cool refreshing beverages (with or without beer hats), and park yourself somewhere to let the fun unfurl!
Posted: Wednesday, September 09, 2015