Leah and I are both recent college grads, and I am still attending our alma mater as a graduate student. College football is a big thing here in the South...anyone attending a university in the ACC or SEC can attest to that. In fact,the only thing bigger than football might be the tailgate parties.
Tailgates were a huge part of my college experience, but as I learned, planning a good one can be even more stressful than that 10 page paper you have due on Monday. Leah and I were frequently put in charge of planning the tailgate for the Rowing Team...so frequently, in fact, that we gained status as "team moms". That being said, I am no stranger to the "you forgot extra plates" stare down, or the exasperated sigh from the vegetarian friend you forgot about.
I recently went through my phone and found a list of "Tailgate Must Haves" left over from many a Saturday morning trip to the grocery store for burgers and charcoal. I have edited, condensed and compiled some of the more important points...along with some more "adult" additives ;)
- Food: Food seems like a no-brainer, but actually ensuring you have your bases covered in this department is really important. There are two things that people expect to do at a tailgate...eat and drink. Depending on your grill, be sure that you are stocked up on charcoal or propane. It is also a good idea to communicate with your fellow tailgaters about food allergies or dietary preferences. Try to accommodate the best you can, or suggest that people BYOB (bring your own burger/bun) if meat or gluten is an issue. Don't forget to pack condiments and bring some snacks for while the grill heats up, and you will be good to go!
- Drinks: Be sure to decide ahead of time who is supplying drinks! Is it BYOB? Is there a "community cooler"? Communication is key here! Also be sure to bring plenty of water. Beer may seem like a good idea when you're sitting in the sun all afternoon, but it doesn't do much by way of hydration!
- Music: Depending on what form of "tailgating" you are doing, you may or may not need speakers. If you are tailgating the traditional way, by all means use the truck! But if that isn't an option for you, portable speakers that run on a battery allow for an endless supply of "Wagon Wheel"...I mean, country songs!
- Paper and Plastic: Extra cups, silverware, plates, napkins, and trash bags. It is impossible to have too many of any of these things and left overs can be easily stored until next Saturday!
- Sun Protection: I may be perpetuating the "team mom" nickname here, but please please please make sure you have sun protection! Bring a tent, sunblock, or a floppy hat...or all three! There is nothing worse than realizing that you are sunburnt after a day of day drinking and celebrating. Plan ahead!
With Homecoming coming up this weekend, Leah and I will be back at the stadium, koozies in hand (Go Deacs!). Look for pictures of our reunion next week!
Tweet us a picture of your tailgate this weekend and let us know who you're cheering for, @llandcs!