Monday, November 26, 2012

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

Tailgate Update – Aloha! I am tan, rested and ready to tackle the home stretch of the 2012 season. Although I was on vacation (provided by your generous subscription fees, donations, bequeathments and general hand outs for reading my blog) this past week, I did get a chance to visit and tour the venerable Aloha Stadium, home to the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football and the annual Aloha Bowl. Such greats as Colt “45” Brennan, Timmy Chang, Golden Richards, Mark Tuinei, Jason Elam, Dana McClemore, Ashley Lelie, Al Noga, Davone Bess and coach June Jones graced this gridiron. The stadium was not high on my list as it is off campus, artificial turf and used for multiple events and activities including a weekly flea market. However, it exceeded my expectations which were minimal at best. The seats are actually real seats with seat backs. That is a plus. The parking lot is quite ample which means good tailgating. Can you imagine the aromas of all the spam, pig, mahi mahi and poi being qued up on gameday? Paired with a fine mai tai or two you could be shaka cool brau in no time.
Dan on vacation?

A special shout out to Rowdy Randy for filling in for me last week and abandoning his family for an 18 hour marathon of college football last Saturday. Well played my friend!

Every now and then we all meet someone we look up to and admire and hold in high regard and even idolize. Mother Theresa, Ronald Regan, Gahndi, Winnie Churchill, George Patton, Ted Williams, Colonel Sanders, Stewie Griffin just to name a few of the obvious ones . For me this just occurred several weeks ago. While perusing for books on the subject of college football, I came across a book called Tales From The Tailgate. For obvious reasons I was drawn to this title and clicked the description button and then proceeded to checkout. It turns out the author, Steve Koreivo has seen all 124 D1 A FBS Teams play live. Not only has he accomplished this feat, he has attended over 400 college football games of all Divisions. Hardly a weekend in the fall goes by without Steve attending a game. His motto is “Get off the couch and go to a game”. These are truly the wisest words I have ever heard man utter. His wife is as understanding about his obsession as my Mrs. Tailgate is. I reached out to Steve via e-mail and we have been corresponding back and forth. In fact, he attended a Navy game last week and I arranged a meet up with my Brother Brian AKA Radio. I am hoping to catch up with Steve at the Army Navy game this year and meet the man we should all look up to and admire. Both Steve and I have promised to send our families to Cancun in February while we undergo our offseason deprogramming therapy at Betty Ford. See you never know where your hobbies/addictions will take you. Please check out his web site. I will keep a permanent link to it on my sidebar.

Now on to the Tailgate Update. After arriving home from the Islands on Friday (yes I left the family there and it was Mrs. Tailgates 26th birthday, and yes I am in the major Tailgate doghouse again). I unpacked and repacked my bag and was picked up at O dark thirty Saturday morning by Mike “The Situation” Iorio, his wife Ashley “Snookie” Iorio and Fritz “Foster Brooks “ Scharff hizself to make the 400 mile Trek down to South Central LA to watch the Irish take on the Men of Troy in the Death Star itself, the LA Coliseum.

Mike and Ashley

This would be the Tailgate’s first visit to this historic venue. Host of 2 different Olympics (1932 and 1984), 2 NFL franchises (Rams and Raiders) and even the LA Dodgers at one point and of course the USC Trojans. The stadium is right across the street from the main entrance to the beautiful SC campus. This would be considered enemy territory for any Notre Dame fan. However the real SC fans were quite hospitable and gracious. There was the occasional yahoo who has just decided to become a football fan that would say something rude, but they were far and few between. I was not beaten to a pulp for wearing the wrong colors as was feared. ESPN College Gameday broadcasted from the Stadium prior to our arrival. The tailgating crowd was enormous and the atmosphere was electric, the weather was 85 and sunny! SC in my opinion has the best gameday experience on the West Coast. Real tradition with real fans and a team with real history. Really? (See previous rant on that word) It is as close to the SEC and Big 10 experience as you will get. Yeah I know, what is a Notre Dame fan doing giving out props to the opposite party? Hey the Tailgate just calls it like it is.

Planting the Irish flag on enemy soil

We were hosted by Major Mark Rodrick, USMC Retired, USC alum. His group of tailgaters included a legendary fan named Trojan AL, USC class of 60 who has more good stories on SC football than Lane Kiffin has in deflated balls. Ample beverages, grilled brats and sausages were served. Lots of tents, TV’s and parties as far as the eye could see.

Tailgating under enemy colors
Major Mark flashing his gang sign in LA


Ashley and Frtitz,  loyal Irish fans
Dan, Trojan Al and Top Gun Joel

This was a game I have wanted to see since watching the 1974 game where Anthony Davis ran roughshod over the Irish for 4 touchdowns and several miles of rushing yards! Watching those beautiful USC cheerleaders/Song Girls as a curious child only enhanced my desire to attend this one in person. The game was close, not pretty but a great energy was circulating in the cathedral. I learned they serve Jamesons and Coke at the Coliseum. Must be an LA thing. Notre Dame wins by 9 and completed an improbable undefeated regular season after starting the season unranked. The Irish will be playing the winner of the Bama –UGA game on January 7th in South Beach for the National Championship. The Tailgate is seeking tickets but not willing to pay $1500. See something, say something…if the price is right.

ND video - Modern Day Rockne stuff

Inflitrating enemy camp
Major is a true believer and a good sport!

In other PAC 12 news the Stanford Tree were “rooted” on to victory in the Rose Bowl against the baby bears in a dress rehearsal for the real game this Friday on the Farm in Palo Alto for the PAC 12 ship. In the Civil War, the Ducks flew by the Beavers in Corvallis by 2 X points. The Ducks will surely be eating Tostitos in January in Phoenix.

In the SEC – ACC – Showdown weekend, The SEC goes 4-0, silencing critics such as myself on the SEC being overhyped. Gators chomped down on the chopping Noles, Ole Ball Coach took the fight out of the Tigers in Death Valley SC, Vandy beats Wake in Academic Jeopardy and the Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech never got their engine going against UGA. A&M and Johnny Football showed Mizzou which new entrant really belongs in the SEC. Bama helped accelerate the exit strategy of Gene Chizik after a 49 -0 drubbing of War Eagle in the Iron Bowl. Gene gets the last laugh as he sings to War Eagle nations “ Don’t cry for me oh Auburn and Toomers Tree. My monthly severance s is 200 k plus three !”

Does anyone else think that Johnny Football looks like Beaver Clever?

Jeepers Wally!

Big 12 - In the Bedlam game in Norman, Ok the Belldozer proves to be the big hero sending the game into overtime and helping the Sooners to a 51 -48 win over Cowboy Curt (my Father in law) and Mrs. Tailgate’s alma matter. And how about TCU going to deep in the heart of Texas and making coach Mac B look like he is ready to “spend more time with his family.”

Big 10 – Ohio State wins their unofficial championship by going 12-0 and knocking off the not so A maize ing and Blue. Were those tattoos really worth it guys? Job well done by coach OB at Penn State by beating Wisconsin in their final game of the year and ending with an 8 -4 record. And how about Northwestern playing 4 quarters and spanking the Illini?

A local shout out to coach Macintyre and the Spartans of San Jose State for notching their 10th win of the season beating LA Tech and cracking the BCS top 25 for the first time ever. Sparty is going bowling!!! Is coach Mac moving on to a bigger stage?

Coaching Carousel – In the SEC, Geno joins John L and the Joker and of course Coach Dooley Junior. Coach Dooley was hanging his head down low today as he will now be using his EBT card at mini marts for a bumper of beer, chips and a lottery card. And the Kingston Trio were brought into Knoxville to give Coach Dooley a proper send off by singing their hit song: “Hang down your head Coach Dooley. Hang down your head and cry. Hang down your head Coach Dooley, Poor boy you’re bound to die.”Other coaching changes are taking place at CAL, BC, NC State, Purdue, Colorado and UTEP. Stand by as there will be more.

Gripe of the week provided by Les Miles:


Hit of the week – Coach Tubberville one ups Mike Leach’s antics at Texas Tech

Special tailgate Prayers to tailgate loyalist Alabama Al who is undergoing health issues. Also prayers to the family Mr. O'malley after his unexpected passing.

The Tailgate is looking to disappoint family and friends this weekend and blow off obligations for either the PAC 12 Championship game or the Boise-Nevada game.

Foster Brooks living up to his name!

Happy Tailgating!