Practice Makes For a Perfect Tailgate

When you first crack open that SUV, car, or scooter basket at your first tailgate of the year, what goes through your mind? Are you ready? Do you have everything? Do you have a new toy to show off this time around?

Then it happens, you don’t have anything new. You forgot your fuel or even worse – your grill is so rusty you will have to buy a $10.99 Wal-Mart special throw-away grill to get by. Embarrassing for a tailgater of your caliber. So what to do? What can you do to prevent this travesty from happening the next time around? Well, I think I have the perfect solution.

Everyone goes all out for specific seasons – the other sports seasons are bonuses. For some, baseball is the time to crank it up. For others it could be the NFL or College Football. Those side seasons provide ample opportunity to PRACTICE! Not a game but PRACTICE. That’s right, even the best tailgater knows that practice makes perfect – so even if you aren’t remotely interested in the Double-A ball club in your backyard – their free parking and dollar-hot dog nights provide the right situation to roll out your tailgate practice game. This way you can discover if the magic lighter your mom got for you truly works as opposed to the first game day of the season, when you truly care about impressing your guests.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I can be a bit superstitious when it comes to sports and I do sweat the little things. A lighter failing to work could be a hugely bad omen. I would rather watch the double-A team suck it up due to my lighter failing than see my Hokies dismantled,

Some of you are probably thinking, ‘hey, I do that naturally’ – and you, my friends, are in a class to yourselves. ‘The rolling party’ is the phrase that you will be called. A friend recently decided to have a July 4th cookout. Well knowing me like he did, he said, Nick – you bring what you need to make this fun. So I did. I threw the beer pong table on the roof, (and yes I have a perfectly home-made and home-painted VT table – maybe pictures will be forthcoming) I rolled the coolers, VT tent, accessories and grill into the back of my beat-up 4Runner and cruised over. When I showed up, suddenly there was a party – hence ‘the rolling party.’ I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Why is that story important? Well, because I figured out that my grill likes to ooze grease when it is placed in a vehicle too soon after use. Duly noted – won’t happen during football season – nothing worse than returning from a good game and the passenger seats being covered in the pre-game meal – which could lead to the seats being covered by the post-game, well, you know.

PRACTICE is critical. Make sure you do it often. Here in Richmond, Virginia there is an annual event called the Strawberry Hill Races. It is a Charity Event that falls easily into a well-dressed-drink-fest Tailgate. I would be remiss if I missed that, now wouldn’t I? Considering the timing (April) it is the first real time to tailgate in months (NBA basketball doesn’t seem to excite me during these months) – so I practiced (of course).

In this instance I found that I was wise in remembering an extra tarp. A lovely hardcore downpour started up (its spring of course), and I wisely placed the tarp on the side of the tent from which the rain was coming from. (since when rain doesn’t fall down, but comes in sideways?) I learned at a game last year that an extra tarp would be invaluable – since I didn’t have one at all! Failure to practice in that instance cost me hugely – had to visit a bar to salvage things. A huge tailgating failure. One other thing I figured out at that April tailgate, ponchos and grills don’t agree – and when it rains, drunk men will run around in their Speedo’s. Ewww.

Now if I wasn’t out practicing, I would have never known all those tidbits. So while you are sitting at home drooling over when the next season will start, start pondering when the next time you can PRACTICE tailgating. You might just very well save your tailgate party next year when it really counts.