The Meaning Of A Tailgate

This is a guest post from Pete Tverdov. Pete is a fanatical tailgater for Rutgers football games and he and his friend have a growing crew of tailgate members thanks to their tricked out tailgate bus. (The bus even has its own Facebook Fan Page.) Pete is hoping to come on board as a regular contributor to the writing staff of

Rutgers Tailgating Bus

With football season hibernating it seems appropriate to look beyond the surface of a tailgate.

People who tailgate generally see the exterior of the set up and enjoy the moment. The grill. The beer. The food. Cameras snapping, fans yapping, music blaring and girls staring. Okay, maybe not the last one. What makes it special though? What is beyond the surface of our fun?

There isn’t anything more a part of American culture than tailgating before a football game. The great thing about it is that there is a unique twist from every part of the country. LSU has their Cajun cuisine, cooking bratwurst at Wisconsin, ordering a fat sandwich at Rutgers or “sailgating” at the University of Washington. The foods and cultures of those particular regions come out and shine on Saturday’s in autumn.

There are a lot of different tailgating levels. One level would be your college level of binge drinking and a DJ booth – no food necessary. The secondary level is achieved once people are out of school, snapping them out of there cubicle warped lives and allowing them to feel good again. The last level would be a reunion of friends and family who only see each other in autumn and gather around for several “family reunions” per year.

For all the different areas of the country and levels of tailgating one finds themselves in, one thing is agreeable; It’s a great way to have an outdoor party hours before a football game. We know that our local culture is sewn into the tailgate. We know what our age and maturity levels are molded in as well. The best thing of all is that our pride shines and memories are made each and every weekend.

Tailgating makes one proud to be an Iowa State Cyclone or an Arizona Wildcat. A culture, age and style are represented. It all strengthens our bond with our family, state and team. It’s more than just food. It’s more than just drinks. It’s a lifestyle of fun and pride that we represent a few months out of the year. Sip on that thought the next time you’re slurping a cold one.