Last year around this time we put together a helpful guide called Tailgating 101 for college freshmen. It was our way of helping those incoming Freshman that had been prepping all summer for college football tailgating but may have needed need a few pointers. In the interest of fairness we have decided to put together a helpful guide for those recently graduated tailgaters that have been tailgating at the their alma mater for a few years. The recently graduated college student who still comes back to their old college town on football Saturdays needs a few pointers too on how to tailgate properly. You’d be surprised how tailgating after you have graduated will change compared to when you were an undergrad.
You may ask, “Why does a recent Post-Grad need tailgating tips? They have been tailgating college football for at least four years.” The simple answer is once you have moved out of the fraternity or sorority house, the way you tailgate needs to change too. Even though you may think being removed from living on campus by two or three years affords you the opportunity to still tailgate like an undergrad, you are mistaken. Follow these simple guidelines so you can avoid the embarrassment of the Post-Graduate tailgating faux pas.
Don’t Dress Like an Undergrad – I don’t care what the tradition was for game day on your campus. Dressing as though you are going to be wedged into the student section doesn’t cut it anymore. Wearing that cape or the mismatched socks or the bow tie complete with sports jacket in 90 degree heat may have worked when you were a freshman or a sophomore but now, not so much. Plus, you think dressing like all the undergrads will help you stand out and separate yourself from the crowd? Jeans and your school’s logo polo shirt will be just fine and you won’t look like Wooderson from the movie Dazed and Confused trying to scam on girls who were Homecoming court runners up in high school this time last year.
Resist the Rituals – No matter what your undergrad traditions were, you may have to back away slowly and find some new ones. Keg stands when you are 21 are not only acceptable behavior but expected. Keg stands when you are 28 and have an entry level job you need to make it into on time on Monday? Not so much. Look on the bright side. New rituals and traditions can be more fun to start. We’re not saying you have to abandon playing beer pong while tailgating. You might have to retire the old table you have that was made out of 2x4s and plywood for a more portable and lightweight version. Fitting that heavy and bulky thing into a two door sedan is probably getting old.
Avoid Lingering at the old Haunts – We get it that every time you step foot in the old fraternity house you are greeted with cheers and chants and immediate requests to recount numerous stories. Everyone needs a little ego boost every now and then but it is time to stop relying on the old stories and memories to carry you through. Pop into your old frat house to say hi, or make a donation to the chapter fund but don’t make it an all day affair. Make an appearance but go grab your parking space on south campus and set up your own tailgate party.
Don’t sit in the Student Section – You may still look young enough to be a college student but that doesn’t mean you have to still sit in the student section. Don’t turn the ticket taker at the gate of the student section into one of those state fair carnies that has to guess your age. Your male pattern baldness and hint of crow’s feet are a dead give away you are trying to pull one over. Just be thankful the student ID photo you took seven years ago worked as long as it did.
Don’t be “That Guy” – We get it that you were the one to always scream “War Eagle” or “Roll Tide” or start the UCLA eight clap when it was time to get everyone fired up to head into the game. Try not to be that guy that screams these same cheers while everyone is filing out of the stadium and making their way across the parking lots either. Most people upon leaving the game are hot, sweaty, dehydrated and a touch hungover and your incessant yelling is not helping the situation. It might actually get your ass kicked because most tailgaters will blow off an undergrad doing it, upon graduation it just makes you look like a douche canoe.
Post-Game Tailgate like a real Post-Grad – One of the best parts about tailgating is the post-game tailgate. After the game is over you don’t want to sit in hours of traffic waiting for the two main roads leading into the dinky college town siphons out over 100,000 people. Fire up the grill and cook those hamburgers or brats that you have kept cold in your cooler while you were inside for the game. You are in no rush to get anywhere. The college kids still in school are in a panic to figure out what bar they want to hit before it gets too crowded with post-game revelers. Let them have that headache. You brought your own gear and can break out the folding chairs and relax and waive to all the other fans that are sitting in traffic pulling their hair out because they have moved 20 feet in the past half hour.
Avoid crashing on someone’s couch – We know it is tempting to hit the bars after the game and party like you just got your first fake ID. We get it. Seeing how we understand it is from a position of experience. You may think you can party and stay out all night until last call but that means you will be needing a place to crash because you will be in no condition to drive home. That usually translates into the bad decision of crashing on someone’s couch or even worse, the couch in the front room of the frat house. It’s a given, at the very least, you will become the world’s largest canvas for Sharpies and Magic Markers. Unless you enjoy waking up to find you will be going to work on Monday with phallic symbols on your forehead and one eyebrow shaved off, resist this temptation. The big difference is that when we learned this valuable lesson it was in the days before camera phones and the ability to post to Instagram and Facebook within seconds. It’s 2013, You are not so lucky and the Internet isn’t going away anytime soon.