I would love to arrive at a football game with plenty of time to enjoy a fun tailgating party. I think I’d really enjoy having a beverage and some chips before heading into a screaming, fan-filled stadium. You know, the semi-calm before the storm. However, I’m always late. When the kids were toddlers I used to blame them but now I can’t when we show up to the football games after kick off. This year, my goal is to have better time management and show up early. Tailgating is such a great way to gather with your entourage and get pumped up to cheer on the team. I have always fantasized about putting together a spread like this*.
Somehow I just don’t get around to doing it. Not only do I NOT prepare anything - I actually look forward to consuming all of my calories inside the stadium because that saves me a lot of time planning plus it eliminates the trips to the grocery store. Every Fall, I flip thru this book and think: I too, can make a spread like this. My tailgate would be healthy, homemade, creative and more festive than this cookbook…
In the real world, we usually tailgate after we win the game. And when I say tailgate, I mean we literally open up a cooler and serve light domestic (not locally hand-crafted) beer. No food, no wine, no table, no chairs, no nothing - except light beer in a can. I also mean it when I say after a WIN. If we lose, we still open up the cooler but we don’t stay more than a half an hour and it’s obviously not as fun. When we first joined the Vikings, some coaches’ wives put on a tailgate spread and they would have it ready for us hungry fans when the game was over. It was pot luck-ish. Meaning they made the main dishes and people would bring some sweet treats or chips etc. I usually brought stuff that I wanted to get rid of for fear of eating them all myself or I’d bring a football-shaped rice crispy treat.
I loved the camaraderie we had celebrating the wins and I’m glad we had each other to commiserate with for all those losses. The boys would toss the football around and the girls would snuggle up and watch a movie in someone’s car while the adults ate and drank. It was fun and I miss it. Maybe this will be the year I get that going…
Tailgating Day is celebrated on the first Saturday of the month of September. This year it falls on September 2, 2017. This is a very new national day since the first official Tailgating Day was celebrated last year in 2016. If you go onto www.tailgating-challenge.com there is a contest for fun prizes just for posting your tailgating pictures on social media. I’m pretty sure there is a rule that the party must be hosted by the mom & pops in the tailgating world. Meaning the huge tailgating party productions hosted by TV and cable networks are probably not allowed to be contestants. I’m a little spoiled because my first real taste to tailgating parties started with the UCLA/USC game hosted by ESPN or Fox Sport. Getting to go to this party back in the day was the HOTTEST ticket in town. It was the Best. Party. Ever. As a 22 year old assistant media buyer, it could not get any better - DJs, drinks, the best food, the who’s who in the TV and Radio industry and oh btw, the football game against the two giant So Cal rivals was always riveting entertainment. After going to a couple of those tailgating parties, it was hard to go back to a cooler and a crockpot.
Although the tailgating we celebrate today is primarily for football games, tailgating can be for ANY sport. Some consider the spectators of the Battle of Bull Run in 1861 as the first tail gate party. I would even venture to say that drinking a glass of wine before our daughter’s ballet performance could be considered tailgating-ish too. If your kids play hockey, I think tailgating should be REQUIRED especially if they play in the net. But that’s just me (or is it?). I believe tailgating is best when it includes everyone getting dressed up in college colors, pro sport colors or wearing the paraphernalia. This year College Colors Day falls on the same day as Tailgating Day which is on September 2, 2017. Coincidence? College Colors Day started back in 2004 and was founded by College Licensing Co** and the date changes annually.
My cousin’s daughter went off to college this Fall (I still don’t believe it) so I thought I’d get her family into the spirit of College Colors Day by sending some thoughtful pinches over to them. I got the beer cozy for my cousin’s husband aka, the Dad. The clear plastic purse for my cousin so that she can use it when she watches college and pro games meeting the “clear purse” requirement at most stadiums. The bow tie is for the younger brother who wears bow ties when he gets all dressed up. And finally, the college student herself, gets the fight song bottle opener. May she hang onto it for many tailgating parties to come. These are new college colors for this family as they traditionally wear either red and black for UGA Bulldogs or blue and orange for the Florida Gators.
Even if you didn’t go to college, chances are you like to cheer for a college team. Whether it’s basketball for Final Four or the college world series or the college bowl games, there has to be a team whose colors you’d wear. I personally did not go to UCLA but I am definitely wearing these bad boys on College Colors Day.
* Source is Entertainment with Longaberger Celebrating the Seasons
**Source is NationalDaycalendar.com