Monday, September 7

Tailgate Time

Growing up in a college town, I have always understood the concept of tailgating. I can remember being seven years old, sitting in the Assembly Hall parking lot with my family, sitting on the trunk of the car eating fried chicken from Grandys. My grandpa would be smoking a cigar and the radio would be tuned into the local radio station for the pregame show. Half hour before the game, we would pack up the car and make the quick walk into Memorial Stadium to watch our Fighting Illini.

As I got older, tailgates and football games grew fewer due to my own athletic obligations, but nonetheless, football Saturdays were something to look forward to. We began tailgating with family friends rather than just family, and the tailgates would continue after the game... win or lose.

No matter what, one thing remained constant. We were always with family and friends of the family. I had no idea that another world of tailgating existed - the student side - or at least I was blissfully unaware, completely content in throwing the football around with my brothers and listening to music while my parents drank and ate with their friends.

When I got to college, I knew what tailgating was supposed to be like, but I had no idea the magnitude of the student tailgating. I vividly remember my first IU tailgate. There is no way to describe my reaction other than "Wow." Students crammed onto a grassy (or sometimes not so grassy) plot of land to drink beer, get drunk, and maybe - but most likely not - go into the game.

I soon grew to love this tailgate insanity. All my friends, acquaintances, crushes, what have you, were all concentrated into one central area, having a good time on a Saturday morning. Some of my favorite college memories come from those early mornings, like when Pi Phi challenged Theta to a powderpuff game in the middle of the field... except rather than using a football, we used a handle of vodka. Classy. Let's just say that game got intense quickly and after 10 minutes, was stopped. Or the time ATO was on top of trucks, blaring "SHOUT" and with beer showers everywhere. Let's be honest, these are only things you can get away with in college.

So as another season of football commences, I can only hope that this year will bring as much fun and as many memories as the seasons prior. Even with the university's attempts to end student tailgating, we can be certain that IU students will win this battle. Afterall, who can resist a cold beer at 8am? It's tradition.


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