Even if you think you invented tailgating, we’ve all got something to learn. Here’s a list of tailgate pro tips and tricks to help you impress your party crews at the next game!
1. Pick Your Location
Scout out locations ahead of time- pick a nice, grassy area or at the end of a parking lot row for extra elbow room. Mark your turf with some team flags or banners. Extra points for a view of the stadium. But make sure you’re not taking somebody’s sacred spot- check around to make sure a regular hasn’t already claimed the prized territory.
2. Plan Ahead
Take a cue from Boy Scouts: always be prepared. Throw together your own personal tailgating checklist. Make sure you’ve got enough supplies, chairs, food, etc. for everyone. Check the weather forecast; just because you’re wearing greasepaint doesn’t mean the weather’s going to cooperate. Layering clothes (all with your team’s logo on them) is the best strategy. Talk to an old pro about situations that come up when you least expect it, and plan for those.
3. Trick Yourself Out
Here’s where you can let your creativity shine. Your favorite player’s jersey? Check. Banners, pennants, flags, flagpoles, team-sanctioned awning covers? Check. Life-sized, papier-mâché mascot of your team on the cab of your truck? It could happen! Pull the whole family together and use their untapped art potential to help you create some killer homemade banners, so everyone has their share of fun. Make it a friendly competition between you and your tailgating buddies- weirdest, most spirit, most (or least!) expensive decor- the possibilities are endless.
4. Give Yourself Some Time
You spend the work week rushing around; you should be able to relax on the weekends. Plan on arriving at least 3-4 hours before game time and have the food ready-to-eat 1-2 hours before. Your friends, your stomach, and your blood pressure will thank you for a stress-free event. Also, consider leaving time for surprising your friends with post-game goodies- it’ll keep them coming back.
5. Party Responsibly
This means the obvious: don’t ruin somebody’s day by being That Guy. It’s about the game and the fun; the booze is a perk of not being at work. Also, remember to clean up after yourself. Nothing’s more miserable than cleaning up someone else’s trash.
6. Go Off the Beaten Path
Your team might be your religion. But consider branching out a bit. College teams have some of the most rabid fans there are, and the more laid-back atmosphere of a college game only helps you unwind. Be creative in your events; if there is a large group of people gathering, chances are there’s a tailgate to be had! Tailgating before the movies, anyone?
Why Didn’t I Think of That?
Here’s a quick list of “Aha!” stuff to bring that’ll help you fake it like a pro:
- Good rolls
- Inverter generator
- Footballs (or Frisbees, or cards, or horseshoes….)
- Water (for drinking and to douse the charcoal)