It’s that time of year again. The time of year when football fans begin talking nonstop about Razorback football, and all non-football fans collectively sigh, tune out, and reach for their iPhones.
Of course, with the start of football season comes one of the funnest things to do on the planet: tailgating.
Pregame tailgating is the perfect time to get together with friends and to do some partying before the game starts. Here’s a touchdown and two field goals’ worth of things you’ll need – or want to keep in mind – as you plan your next tailgating experience.
1. A place to stand around. The most essential part of tailgating is having somewhere to park your vehicle. This will be where you will hang out and wait for the game. Ideally, you want to be as close to the stadium as possible to minimize walking to and from the game. University sanctioned tailgating zones such as parking lots, or The Gardens located on Razorback Road are perfect for this. Unfortunately, these prime spots are sometimes hard to acquire and can come at a hefty price, so finding a spot further away from the stadium may be your best bet.
2. Regular and special beverages. You are going to need a lot of special beverages. Discretely enjoying a special beverage of your choice while on university grounds seems to only be allowed during these special times. Take full advantage. Additionally, remember to take some regular beverages like water, soda, iced tea, coconut milk, etc.
3. Tailgating can be enjoyed by all. Listen up all you non-football fans. Tailgating is fun even if you don’t like football. What’s the difference between hanging out with your buddies at your house and talking about nothing and hanging out with your buddies in a parking lot while everyone is wearing a Razorback shirt and talking about nothing? That’s right, nothing.
4. You are probably going to have to use a portable bathroom. If you are close enough to the stadium this may not be an issue as you can use the facilities there, but chances are this will not be the case. The UA supplies portable bathrooms for tailgaters in designated areas, but the lines are often times horrendous, especially as the game’s start time gets closer and all the day’s special beverages have begun to catch up with people. My advice, if you think you feel a bathroom break coming on, go ahead and get in line. That way, you can avoid the torment of waiting in line when you really, really need to go to the bathroom.
5. Throwing games. Washers and cornhole are by far the most popular tailgating games that involve throwing an object at or through something. These games are awesome because they are easy to understand and can be enjoyed by all.
6. Take a TV. It will be kind of a pain to have a working TV out in the middle of a parking lot because you will need a generator or some other way to get some electricity but it is worth it. It’s one of the few times you can watch TV outside without being called a redneck. Also, you can keep up with the other games going on that day, or you can turn on HSN and watch the weirdos.
7. Homemade salsa. Food of any kind is important while tailgating. That’s a given. But making some excellent homemade salsa is always a crowd pleaser.
8. Be prepared to get stuck. Chances are pretty good that if you park your car in one of the tailgating areas, you are going to end up being stuck there for a while. Traffic and pedestrian congestion increase by an alarming amount as the game approaches. It’s really not even worth trying to get out of there when the traffic gets nuts.
9. Weather-specific clothing. If there is a chance of rain, take a trashbag to wear. If it is sunny and hot, wear a hat and take some sunscreen. You might find yourself out in the weather for 10 hours, so you are going to want to make sure to be comfortable during that time.
10. Get something tall. When inviting others to your tailgating spot it is always super helpful to have something tall jutting out into the air from your site. That way, guests will be able to find your spot much easier, and therefore be less likely to have to wade through unnecessary crowds of douchebags (see 11) on their way to hang out.
11. There will be a lot of douchebags out there. Lots of people like sports and drinking, but unfortunately some of those people are douchebags. So be ready and avoid eye contact. Remember, you don’t have to “Call the Hogs” if you don’t want to, especially when you are in a parking lot. If someone tries to get you to do it and ends up getting an attitude about it, they are probably a douchebag and should be avoided.
12. A chair. Such a simple item, but totally neccessary. Sitting on concrete or standing all day long will kill your back.
13. More special beverages. Because it’s freaking football season, duh.
So there is a short list of items you’ll need and a few things to consider for your upcoming tailgating party. With all that said, I will probably be enjoying the games from home, mostly because of #4.