Art of Tailgating

     It’s football season again, and the key ingredient to having the best game day experience is a first-rate tailgate. Here’s your how to guide on tailgating.

     First, get your priorities straight and focus on the number one thing on everyone’s mind – food. This could make or break the entire tailgate, so put a lot of thought into this and make sure it’s a crowd pleaser. The number one rule is to always cook more than you think you need. When it comes to food, more is always better. Also, don’t waste your time on the healthy junk no one will eat.

     Food items that can be grilled are crucial. This involves chicken, tri-tip, steak, sausage, hot dogs, hamburgers – basically any type of meat.

     “Hot Dogs are the best to grill at tailgates,” senior Spirit Chef Nick Pellegrini said. “They don’t take long to roast and they are easy to eat while standing and talking with your friends or getting your face painted. But they wouldn’t be complete without warm toasted buns.”

     The next important thing to remember is to camp out early in order to secure a favorable location for the tailgate. This is the biggest deciding factor in the overall atmosphere. Get as close to the stadium as possible, so you can feel the energy of the teams and fans pulse through your tailgate. This is an excellent opportunity to meet new people and even learn the history and traditions of the opposing team. No one wants to be that lifeless group off in the corner, sadly looking at the festivities from afar.

     In order to avoid being that group void of energy and clearly not enjoying themselves, immerse yourself in the traditions of whatever school you are attending the game at. Sing the fight song as loudly and shamelessly as possible. Dance to the hymns played by the band. Cheer with spirit alongside the cheerleaders as the football players storm the stadium with pride. Beg to see the face beneath the sweaty mask of the mascot, or at the very least get a picture with the mascot to instagram later.

     Also, to ensure the successfulness of your tailgate, be sure to include all essential items at your set up. This includes, a pop-up tent, or a tricked out RV or an old school bus converted into a tailgate on wheels, a grill, your team flag, a tv to watch multiple games on at once for the fanatics, speakers to blast festive music, and of course an assortment of tailgate games.

     One of the best games to have at your tailgate is ladder ball, where you attempt to land your throw on the rungs of a ladder, and more often than not fail. Then there’s the bean bag toss, or corn hole (whichever you prefer), where the goal is to toss the bean bags into the tiny hole with expert touch, from varied distances. For a classic and easy game, simply bring along the old pigskin to toss around with some buds. There’s nothing like laying out for that pass in front of whole crowds of other tailgaters who cheer you on and occasionally even join in the game.

     The tailgate is what you make it. Rain or shine, win or lose, everyone knows what really makes attending football games so much fun is the tailgate.