|It's that time of year again.|
You can't succeed without proper preparation. The night before, you should be loading up your coolers and laying everything out on your kitchen tables and getting bags of ice and thawing frozen shit, whatever. Because once you show up to the stadium and get parked, it's ON. Now let's get going with the tips:
Parking - You don't need to have a gold-plated parking pass to get a good spot. But that being said, the closer that you are to the stadium, the better. You don't want to park 2 miles away to save $10 and then bust out the grill. You look like a hobo. Sometimes, saving a little money isn't worth the isolation. You should strive to be near your fellow fans. Walking sucks anyway.
Arrival - Three hours before the game seems to be a nice benchmark with a variance of an hour in each direction. You don't want to rush it but at the same time, you don't want to be sitting there for so long that you get bored and tired. And that is a huge risk when you are drinking in the sun.
Grilling - Charcoal, charcoal, charcoal. Go buy a fucking hibachi if you are serious about this. Gas grills are fine at home when you don't have the time to slow cook your meat. But if you give yourself the customary three hours, there is no excuse to not have Kingsford on hand. Plus, lighter fluid is ridiculously fun to play with.
Meat - I rank tailgating meat like so: 1. Anything that can be put on a hot dog bun
4. Cold Cuts (especially if you are running late or aren't expecting many friends/family to show up)
The bratwurst is the perfect food on a football Saturday. Let there be no arguing of this. Now, you will occasionally see some guy smoking ribs or whole chickens or pork loins. This is fine and all, but not necessary. No need to be a hero. And unless you take it up the old dirt road, you sure as shit better not serve grilled chicken sandwiches. Lose weight during the week. Fall Saturdays and Sundays are made for calories.
The Rest Of The Table - Call me crazy, but I like a good veggie tray. Carrots and celery aren't bad with meat and booze. It is perfectly exceptable to munch on these during your TailGREAT...as long as you use a lot of dip. I like a variety of chips and pretzels on the table as well. A cheese tray is a must. Again, no need to get fancy. Sure, potato salad and/or pasta salad sounds good, but I don't like to mess with silverware and plates. It's a hassle. I don't particularly care for desserts on gameday either. Some sort of cookie or whatever usually ends up on the table, but it isn't necessary. I don't need chocolate chips with my cheap beer. In conclusion, just keep it simple. And always, ALWAYS, bring more food than you will probably need. Because if you run out, you have failed and your team will surely lose.
Beer - Cans only. I repeats, CANS ONLY (or maybe a pony keg, I suppose). And it better fucking be domestic. Drink your Heineken's and your Dos Equis at home, dammit. On a football Saturday/Sunday, go by this rule: If a case costs $16 or less, it's free game. If it's more, leave it in the cooler. Nothing fancier than a Bud or Miller product should ever be consumed at a TailGREAT. I stand by this.
Other Beverages - In September, it's always hot as shit here. Make sure you've got some water in your cooler. There's nothing embarrassing about taking a 5 minute water break in between beers 8 and 9 just to hydrate a bit. I've blacked out during a football game before...it is not fun. As Al Bundy once said, "Gotta keep the brain wet". Indeed. If you are with any women that do not care for beer and have asked for mojito-flavored Smirnoff's, kindly tell them that they are not welcome at your TailGREAT. This is America, bitches, learn how to drink beer. Pop is acceptable...especially if liquor is on the menu.
Tunes - Be careful. No one around you wants to listen to the new Skee-Lo, GWAR, or Conway Twitty songs. The Tailgate is built on generic stadium music. Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, AC (lightning bolt) DC...that kind of stuff. Personally, I don't think that music should be an option. Either turn on the pregame show of the game you are about to attend, listen to another college football game (that you may be wagering on), or ESPN radio for constant score updates. That way, when your fellow fans walk by and ask for a random score, you have the answer and thus you are better than that guy.
Games - I've noticed that Cornhole is probably the most popular game for tailgates these days. And while it's a fine game, it seems a bit frat-ty to me (much like rape). I do not care for those people. I'm simple though. I just like a good game of catch with the football. You can act like you're Peyton Manning and it can all be done with a beer in hand. I always like to act like I'm taking a snap, run a bootleg to the right, and then throw a shitty pass to whoever I'm throwing to. It never ceases to be fun. Or you can always play "Drink The Beer". That's a fun game, too.
Treatment of Opposing Fans - Don't be a dick. Just because someone is wearing that day's enemy's shirt, does not make you better than them. I'm looking at you, anOSU fan. They should be applauded for loving football so much that they travel to see it. They should not be harrassed. Maybe jokingly, but don't tell them that their mother's cunt smells like an abortion's abortion. Not cool. Represent your school with pride and class. But definitely let the visitors know that they will be losing that day.
Hmmmm...I think that's all that I wanted to say on this. Oh, and if you made it through this Guide to the TailGREAT post today, I've got good news for you. Leave your thoughts on tailgating in the comments and be entered to WIN A $70 GIFT CARD to CSNstores.com. Seriously, reading this site is going to pay off for one of you. Maybe you can use that card to improve your TailGREAT? And in case you are wondering, I am getting nothing out of this. I just love you all that much. The giveaway ends on Thursday at midnight and I will reveal the winner Friday morning. The winner will be drawn at random.
In conclusion, I would like to announce that next week is the greatest week of the year for this blog...COLLEGE FOOTBALL PREVIEW WEEK!!!