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Tailgate To Heaven Book Review

Posted by Dave On December - 14 - 2012

Tailgate To HeavenImagine if you weren’t a fan of the most popular sport in your country… here in the United States that is the NFL, hands down. Imagine growing up not liking football and gravitating towards another sport that is rarely played in your home country but is wildly popular somewhere else thousands of miles away…. something like how cricket is popular in Australia or Bangladesh. Now you are starting to get the understanding of what it is like to be Adam Goldstein.

Goldstein is the “crazy Brit” that sold his flat in London, took the proceeds to fund his cross country trip across America to see every NFL team play at least once during the 2008 season. Did we also mention he did all of this while leaving his beautiful girlfriend back in England to pursue this ultimate dream? And all the while during his travels did his passion for the NFL and the game of football grow even more he found a new passion and love. No, he didn’t meet a new girl and forget about all about Stephanie back home. His new mistress became tailgating and the culture and customs that comes with the pre-game party in the parking lot.

Goldstein earlier this NFL football season published a book entitled Tailgate to Heaven: A British NFL Fan Tackles America. The book chronicles his adventure from becoming an NFL football fan at a very young age while growing up in London to hatching the idea to travel the United States to watch as many NFL games as he could in one season. We got our copy of the book well in advance of it becoming published because not only had we become friends with Adam over the years while he was doing this trip but after he had returned to England. In the interest of full disclosure, we even endorsed the book prior to it going to press and our testimonial is the the third one quoted on the book’s back jacket. Also in the interest of full disclosure, we were not compensated in any way for this endorsement that appeared on the back of the book. Despite having an advanced copy of the book months ago, we have chosen to publish our book review of Tailgate to Heaven: A British NFL Fan Tackles America now because in advance of the holiday season, this is typically a heavy season for book purchases to be given as gifts. As you might imagine we think this book would make a great holiday gift for any tailgaters on your Christmas gift list.

Tailgate to Heaven opens with a brief introduction on how Goldstein’s plan to travel to the United States was hatched on a flight back to England. From there the first chapter describes how in the world a young Brit could shun the sport of soccer, risk ridicule and ostracism by not playing the sport beloved and cherished by his fellow classmates and how he gravitated towards a sport that was hard to find on TV, difficult to understand it’s rules and was misunderstood outside of the United States. All of this and he became a Chicago Bears fan and not a fan of any of the English soccer teams. Quite a challenge as a young man growing up but as a young adult, Goldstein hatches a plan to make his life even more difficult.

The plan was to travel the United States in a car and see every NFL team in the 2008 season. He planned to see every NFL team at least once either by attending a home game of the team or to see the team as a visitor. He was not only successful in the original plan to do it all in a 17 week NFL season, he managed to mix in a couple of college football games, a high school football game and even an NFL Wild Card playoff game. All the while eating and drinking and tailgating his way across America.

Dave Lamm and Adam Goldstein

Tailgating with Adam Goldstein prior to the Chargers vs. Packers preseason game in 2012

Although I thoroughly enjoyed the first chapter of the book, reading about the genesis of Adam becoming a fan of American football, tailgaters will enjoy the descriptions and details of Adam’s perception of the uniquely American culture that is tailgating. I found myself becoming more and more excited for Adam as his trip was building. He originally came to America in search of a way to satisfy his thirst for seeing the NFL up close and personal, but something funny happened on the way to to the stadium. Adam Goldstein became a changed man. He transformed. Dare I say, he evolved. He became a tailgater.

The bulk of the book chronicles Adam’s 40 game trip crisscrossing the United States via rental car and via airplane and the experiences he took in. As the trip wore on, Goldstein’s focus was less on the games and he found himself stressed out and feeling anxiety about losing “tailgating time” if a flight was delayed or if he experienced car trouble. The most common delay was a problematic GPS system he nicknamed “Gippy” that would send him down rural roads and sometimes on the wrong side of the road.  Although the original intent of the trip was to see football games, Adam found himself going into the games after kick-off or missing the entire first quarter in order to tailgate longer or meet legendary tailgating icons like Joe Cahn. This evolution from football fan to tailgater is what I think is the best aspect of the book. It proves our point that football and tailgating are inherently intertwined and you can not have one without the other. The game day experience is not the same if tailgating were to be abolished and the same goes for tailgating. You never see anyone with their trunk open, drinking beers and grilling in an empty parking lot without a game or concert happening in the immediate future.

The book is smartly written and includes a look into Adam’s dry and sarcastic humor all while detailing the ups and downs of taking on a road trip of this magnitude. I found myself becoming jealous of Adam as I read the book. Not because he was able to see 40 football games but because he was able to experience so much tailgating in the course of less than 20 weeks. His liver must have been throbbing when he finally went home to England after weeks of kegs stands and the endless liquor shots that always seemed to Adam as if he was ingesting molten lava. But it wasn’t all drinking all the time. Adam consumed all sorts of American cuisine from all sorts of exotic animal flesh like alligator to wild boar and venison to the tailgating staple of Cheese Whiz squirted directly into one’s mouth from the can. All of this tailgating is done in a short amount of time and if you have only tailgated at your home stadium, this book gives you a sense of what the tailgating culture and atmosphere is like all across the NFL.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is not only interested in NFL football but more if you are interested in the unique American culture that is tailgating. As of today, you can get your own copy of Tailgate to Heaven: A British NFL Fan Tackles America or pick up the book for those tailgaters on your gift list, for $20.65. This price may change but as of today and this publishing, that was the price we saw on Amazon.

Hats off to you Adam for a great trip and a wonderful read. We salute you and your book and for allowing us to come along on your trip across America and into the tailgating lots vicariously.

Burger Pocket Press

Video: CNN Features Joe Cahn

Posted by Dave On November - 17 - 2011

Video: Tailgating Feature on ESPN College Gameday

Posted by Dave On November - 6 - 2011

With all the bad publicity and the negative stereotypes that tailgating has been pinned with over the last few years, it is nice to see some national media exposure projecting tailgating in a positive light. The video appeared on ESPN’s College Gameday program November 5, 2011.

Video: Carolina Cup Tailgating

Posted by Dave On April - 15 - 2011

Joe Cahn, the Commissioner of Tailgating, hit the Carolina Cup and checks in with this video on the tailgating going on there.

Stop Getting Screwed Inside The Stadium

Posted by Dave On February - 15 - 2011

Yankee Stadium BeerJoe Cahn, the self-proclaimed Commissioner of Tailgating likes to call tailgating “the last great American neighborhood”. What he means is that, while tailgating people are very friendly and will let complete strangers borrow a bottle of ketchup. This “neighborhood” in the parking lot harkens back to a time in America where no one locked their doors and instead of running to the store for a cup of sugar, you just went next door to borrow it from a neighbor.

I, on the other hand, like to refer to tailgating as “the great equalizer”. This means that since so many exterior forces are beyond our control, the one thing we can control is how and to what extent we can take our tailgating. As fans and tailgaters we can’t control ticket prices. We can’t control gasoline prices. We can control food and beverage concession stand prices. We can’t control parking fees. The one thing we can control is what we want to consume in the parking lot and how much.

By going tailgating, one could potentially avoid paying all the high costs of food and beverage inside the stadium. In my experience while a San Diego Chargers season ticket holder since 2004, I can recall three times buying something inside Qualcomm Stadium. All three times it was a bottle of water because it was an early season game in August or September and I had already downed the two bottles of water I was allowed to bring in. In my seven years as a season ticket holder not once have a purchased a hot dog, pretzel or beer inside the stadium. Now surfacing is evidence that not only was I saving money but probably was avoiding being cheated as well.

Back in January, a couple of astute Seattle Seahawks fans exposed the Qwest Field concessions of selling beer in 16-ounce and 20-ounce cups that hold the same amount of liquid. The perceived “large” cups of beer cost $1.25 more. Take a look for yourself.

I saw the above video a month ago and thought of posting about it here. I chose not to at that time thinking it was an isolated incident. I also held off because the Seahawks organization came forward soon afterward and revealed that both cups were 20-ounce cups. The “smaller” of the two cups was being sold for less than the large. Therefore those fans buying the “smaller’ beer were getting 4-ounces extra while paying the lower price.

Now comes along a video that was originally posted in May 2010 that shows a baseball fan doing a similar demonstration as the Seahawk fans. The real crime here is that the smaller beer costs $5 while the “larger” beer costs $8. Take a look.

The moral of the story? Stop buying beers inside the stadium.

Sure these two videos may be isolated incidents but then again, would you be surprised if this was pervasive in other places?

Bottom line, you know when you are buying your tailgating food at the grocery store, you are getting the sizes and quantities you expect. Eat and drink to your heart’s content out in the parking lot and save your money. It wouldn’t surprise me if that quarter pound hamburger inside the stadium is a tad on the light side even before cooking.

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About Me

TailgatingIdeas.com is a tailgating blog dedicated to bringing you the latest and most intriguing tailgating ideas out there. Whether it is the latest tailgating gear reviews, a great new recipe or a funny list to make you smile, our goal is to inform and entertain the avid and the casual tailgater alike.

Started in August 2007 by tailgating enthusiast Dave Lamm, TailgatingIdeas.com has evolved into an advocate for tailgaters rights and is not afraid to touch on controversial issues confronting those who frequent the tailgating parking lots.

To learn more about TailgatingIdeas.com and our team of writers, reviewers, cartoonists and contributors, please visit the About Us page.

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