Being in the heart of the SEC and a huge fan of college football in general, I've been to quite a few tailgates. and I've seen my fair share of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Tailgating can be one of the best, most enjoyable experiences you can have as a collegiate football fan, or it can be one of the worsts. The first tailgates I went to were with my grandparents, when they hauled their camper all over the Southeast, watching Auburn play.
Today I love to continue the tradition of tailgating at Auburn with our friends. In honor of college football starting this week and Fan Friday, I've complied some helpful tips, a list of "guidelines" that are good for everyone, whether you're a seasoned tailgater or a first timer.
Do BYOB. Nobody likes a mooch, and if you aren't planning on drinking alcoholic bevvies, you still need to bring your own refreshments. Whether it's Monster energy drinks of a few bottles of Dasani, it's always best to come prepared instead of assuming someone will have some extra in their cooler.
Don't drink too much, too early. Pace yourself. If the game is at 6 pm and you get to the tailgate spot at 10 a.m. be sure you aren't blackout drunk by 3. First of all, nobody likes a sloppy drunk. Secondly, you're going to miss the game, and I don't know about you but isn't that the whole point of this shindig?
Do support your team. Wear your team colors, cheer, yell, fist bump, etc. when your team makes a good play. Even if you don't go for the two teams playing, or you are tailgating with fans of the opposing team, it is more than okay to show your pride, however...
Don't be that obnoxious rival fan. If you're at an opposing team's tailgate, show some respect. If there's one thing I can't stand it's an overly obnoxious fan. If you're a Bama fan in an Auburn tent, the occasional "Roll Tide" isn't going to get you kicked out, but if you run around the whole tailgate bashing the other team and being really rude and obnoxious, chances are you'll get asked to leave.
Tailgating with my roommate in Troy.
Do bring food/snacks/condiments. Especially if it's not your tailgate. I always try to bring some kind of dish, whether it's a dip, chili, or just some mustard and hot sauce. If you're invited to a tailgate, always offer to bring something, chances are you might not need to but it's the thought that counts.
Don't be the first person to grub out, or take too much food. If you're not hosting the tailgate, then wait for the hosts to start eating or indicate that it's time to eat (usually by saying the blessing). After that, everything is fair game.
Do locate the bathroom upon arrival. Whether it's a port-a-potty, actual bathroom, or someone who doesn't mind you using their camper, find the location and engrave it into your brain. You don't want to be the one doing the potty dance hunting for the bathroom after a few beers.
Don't use someone's camper or personal port-a-potty without permission. Usually it's no big deal, but if someone sees someone they don't know too well going into their private space without permission, chances are they aren't going to be too happy about it.
Tailgating in Auburn
Most importantly, do have fun. There's nothing that compares with the college game day atmosphere. A group of people, from all different backgrounds, all different ages, coming together to support one team. It's something you can't really put into words, but only feel and share with your fellow fans.
As always, it's time to back that azz up into the weekend (and football season) with Whitney!