Tailgating: The Chase Is Better Than The Kill

GrillingImage via Wikipedia

I have friends who use that line when they’re talking about flirting, but I think it works sometimes when it comes to tailgating.

One of the best feelings in the world, at least in my mind, is that split second after you and a group of friends purchase tickets to a concert.

The conversation usually goes like this:

“Oh my god! This show is gonna be sick!”

“I know man, I can’t freakin’ wait!”

“Yo, we are going to tailgate the hell out of this concert. I say we get down there at noon. One cooler for the beers, one cooler for the food. It is on!”

I love that moment. The next day I go mark the date on my calendar, and then I start thinking about tailgating.

What kind of beer? How much beer? What’s the weather gonna be like? Should we grill? Do I know anyone else going?

A million questions race through my head. I pretty much think about the tailgate every day until the day of the show.

Inevitably, something happens the night before, and I wake up in a drunken stupor, needing to race around to find some ice, wash out the cooler, make a million phone calls, and finally get down to the parking lot.

But after all the planning, and after all the running around, and prior to the actual show, there is that magical moment known as the tailgate.

And that, my friends, is what I want to talk about for a minute.

The actual point when all the plans have been acted out – the keg is tapped, the beer is flowing, the food is spread, the games are rocking – there is nothing to do but hang out and wait for the show to start.

For me, that time usually starts with a couple of beers, maybe some small talk with friends. Those first beers are some of the most satisfying of my life. I love the sound of the first beer cracking open, the act of putting a koozey on a can and leaning up against a bumper or unfolding a beach chair. I love seeing who ends up using the cooler as a chair and I love laughing every time they have to get up to get someone a beer.

I like to be the first one on any sort of drinking game, so that is usually the next step. It is a great feeling to bring your own tailgate game to the concert and then see the looks and nods people give as they walk by. And the next best thing to bringing your own tailgate game is joining in someone else’s and making friends. There may be no friendlier place on earth than the parking lot before a show.

Another favorite tailgating pastime of mine is bumming cigarettes from my friends. After a couple beers and then some beer pong or corn hole, I like to take a little breather and smoke a cigarette. It is usually at this point that I start to chat up the neighbors.

Where you sitting? You like our set-up? How long you been a fan of the band?

And so on,.

Sometimes the neighbors are younger than us, and they may learn a thing or two. Other times they are older and I end up picking up some knowledge, little tips on grilling or a cool set-up for a radio, sometimes even just a good story.

At this point, I’m feeling great, and that is where a true tailgate fan really feels at home.

Sure, the concert will be great, but there is something about that moment when you have some time to yourself, and you look around to see people playing drinking games to your left, someone flipping burgers to your right, a group of people laughing into their beers during a story directly in front of you, and a guy in the distance peeing behind a tree. That is the moment when you know all the running around, all the planning and all the money spent, has been totally worth it. Because you are having a great tailgate, and you got your favorite band about to start in ,.oh man,.five minutes? Is that it? Finish that beer! We gotta go!

That’s tailgating. At least for me.