When I was a kid I
thought going to a ballgame was the best thing in the world. Nothing really
tops the feeling of walking into a cathedral of athletic prowess and watching
the best athletes in the world showcase their craft in front of thousands of
I still think going to
a ballgame is one of the greatest experiences a person can have. But you know
what else is pretty awesome? The spectacle that goes on before Ed Hochuli even
tosses the coin.
Tailgating has become
engrained with our national pastimes. Like the Star Spangled Banner, and fat
guys with their shirts off and paint smeared across their rippling belly; tailgating
is a staple in stadium parking lots across America.
This isn’t just drunken
shenanigans. Tailgating is an art form; a ballet. Tailgating is a majestic
performance done, not for fun, but for the good of the people.
Because tailgating is
such a pivotal part of the fiber of sports, there are a few things that are
absolutely necessary when taking part in a tailgate session. The following is a
list of things that have been deemed mandatory for a successful pregame.
You will need a grill.
Everyone knows charcoal is king, but it’s not so much what cooks the meat, but
what kind of meat is being cooked. That grill should be filled with hot dogs,
brats, and burgers and the sound of flame charring raw meat should be heard for
the duration of your tailgate and well after the final whistle has sound.
There should be dip.
Bean dip, taco dip, queso and salsa, cowboy caviar; I can’t stress dip enough. Is
there anything that defines a tailgate, defines the United States, more than
taking an already salty chip and slathering something gooey and awesome all
Because the University
of Wisconsin-Stevens Point is a very health conscious school, I’d like to do my
part in promoting wellness. I urge you all to chew your food well and wash it
down with something cool and refreshing. And what’s more cool and refreshing
than a beer?
Be advised, I am not
saying you should drink. I’m merely stating
that it’s a beautiful tradition and our tailgating forefathers fought bravely
so that you could enjoy a cold beer while wearing overalls and a furry hat and
I feel we should honor them.
Now, if you follow the
rules of homecoming weekend you probably cracked a beer right when you rolled
out of bed this morning. But if you like to slow play your weekend or wait
until you get some food in you it’s okay, I understand. Just know that some individuals will be 10
deep at that point so don’t be surprised if there’s a fight, or you get kissed
by someone you didn’t expect to.
So after you’ve ate and
sipped on some goofy juice, you should be feeling pretty good. So good in fact
you feel like showing off a little athletic ability of your own. You could play
beer pong or maybe a game of flip cup. But the true tailgater knows what game
Bags, or cornhole as
they probably say in Nebraska for obvious reasons, is a game of skill,
concentration, endurance, and bad language. It’s a game for everyone young and
old, drunk or sober. And the best part is you only need one hand, freeing your
other hand to grab a brew, a burger, or flip off the guy wearing the Bears hat.
Soon you’ll feel a tug
on your shirt and turn to find your buddies telling you they’re ready to head
to the game. This is the point in the day where tailgating becomes a “choose
your own adventure” story, with all roads leading to Funtown.
go to the game. You grab a hot dog for the road, wait in line, find your seats
and enjoy the game.
stay at the tailgate. You got the game on the radio and cheaper food and drinks
outside the stadium anyway. They go in and you stay with the legions of
hardcore ticketless fans.
go for the first half. You honor the plan of going to the game, but tweak it a
bit by heading out after one team goes up by three touchdowns and return to
your cold hot dogs and warm beer.
pass out. You were pacing yourself, but after three brats andeight beer bongs things
started spiraling. You wake up to find sharpie on your face and the game of the
year in the bag. Just like you.
Tailgating is the culmination of
centuries of sport loving, booze swilling, party throwing men and women coming
together for the greater good. It has become a social responsibility like
voting or buying Girl Scout cookies. It is a time tested display of fandom that
has been damn near perfected and enshrined in the Hall of Really Cool Sports
Stuff right next to Dale Earnhardt’s mustache and Vince Lombardi’s hat.
Happy homecoming, and happy