Sunday, October 27, 2013

Week 9 - Chip Off the Ole Block

Whilst most parents brag about their offspring for feats of athletic heroism, thespian talents, high grades, instrumental genius, community service and just plain water walking, I could not be more proud of my middle tailgater for a completely different reason. As Managing Editor of her high school newspaper, she took it upon herself with no influence from family members to write the following article in this month’s school paper:

Art of Tailgating
   By Middle Tailgater
It’s football season again, and the key ingredient to having the best game day experience is a first-rate tailgate. Here’s your how to guide on tailgating.

First, get your priorities straight and focus on the number one thing on everyone’s mind - food. This could make or break the entire tailgate, so put a lot of thought into this and make sure it’s a crowd pleaser. The number one rule is to always cook more than you think you need. When it comes to food, more is always better. Also, don’t waste your time on the healthy junk no one will eat.

Food items that can be grilled are crucial. This involves chicken, tri-tip, steak, sausage, hot dogs, hamburgers - basically any type of meat.

“Hot Dogs are the best to grill at tailgates,” senior Spirit Chef Nick Pellegrini said. “They don’t take long to roast and they are easy to eat while standing and talking with your friends or getting your face painted. But they wouldn’t be complete without warm toasted buns.”

The next important thing to remember is to camp out early in order to secure a favorable location for the tailgate. This is the biggest deciding factor in the overall atmosphere. Get as close to the stadium as possible, so you can feel the energy of the teams and fans pulse through your tailgate. This is an excellent opportunity to meet new people and even learn the history and traditions of the opposing team. No one wants to be that lifeless group off in the corner, sadly looking at the festivities from afar.

In order to avoid being that group void of energy and clearly not enjoying themselves, immerse yourself in the traditions of whatever school you are attending the game at. Sing the fight song as loudly and shamelessly as possible. Dance to the hymns played by the band. Cheer with spirit alongside the cheerleaders as the football players storm the stadium with pride. Beg to see the face beneath the sweaty mask of the mascot, or at the very least get a picture with the mascot to instagram later.

Also, to ensure the successfulness of your tailgate, be sure to include all essential items at your set up. This includes, a pop-up tent, or a tricked out RV or an old school bus converted into a tailgate on wheels, a grill, your team flag, a tv to watch multiple games on at once for the fanatics, speakers to blast festive music, and of course an assortment of tailgate games.

One of the best games to have at your tailgate is ladder ball, where you attempt to land your throw on the rungs of a ladder, and more often than not fail. Then there’s the bean bag toss, or corn hole (whichever you prefer), where the goal is to toss the bean bags into the tiny hole with expert touch, from varied distances. For a classic and easy game, simply bring along the old pigskin to toss around with some buds. There’s nothing like laying out for that pass in front of whole crowds of other tailgaters who cheer you on and occasionally even join in the game.

The tailgate is what you make it. Rain or shine, win or lose, everyone knows what really makes attending football games so much fun is the tailgate. 

Tailgate update – The Tailgate rolled down highway 680 to Spartan Stadium for the SJSU homecoming game against Wyoming. Only one problem, I was not part of it. Instead I elected to stay behind in the estrogen factory and be a dad and husband for the weekend. Drubacara and his crew carried on the tradition for the 9th straight year. In the morning I watched parts of 12 games and then was inconvenienced by my youngest tailgater’s dance showcase at the town festival and the middle one’s futbol match two towns away.  All I can say is thank God for my ESPN mobile app on my phone, cuz I did not miss much at all! I returned home to watch all of the later games until my eyes could take no more at 11:30 PM Pacific time. It was kind of fun being back on the couch again. 

The Boys enjoying the sights and sounds of the SJSU Tailgate

 Around the country – Upsets! -  A salute to the Mensas of Duke and coach Cutcliffe for gobbling up a win against the ranked Hokies and becoming bowl eligible for the second year in a row.  The Ole Ball coach pulled another trick out from his sleeve and inserted injured QB Connor Shaw in the second half to bring the Columbia, SC Cocks back from a 17- 0 deficit to whip the team from the other Columbia (MO) in double OT. Minnesota honoring coach Jerry Kill with epilepsy awareness day shocked the #24 Cornhuskers in the twin cities. Boomer Sooner scores a mild upset over TTU and their GQ coach Cliffy “Zoolander” Kingsbury. Navy in an exciting battle against Pitt in Annapolis kicks a last second field goal to achieve victory making last week’s goat this week’s hero.

Navy Goat
Coach Kingsbury

 Johnny Shoulder-blade snookered Vandy into thinking he was gimp. Hardly, the boy was as crisp as a fall day in Maine leading the Aggies convincingly over the Commodores. AJ Mckarrie- Webb and the boys from Tuscaloosa ran all over the Orange from Rocky Top. Breathe easy Bama Nation, you are still #1. After a 14 – 14  halftime score, the Ducks flew away from the Bruins in the second half in Eugene and Florida State tomahawk chops the Wolfpack from Raleigh. Stanford wins 20 - 12 in a slugfest against Oregon State and the nation’s leading passer Sean Mannion. Baylor continues to roll as Charlie Cheesecake Factory and the Jayhawks are the latest recipient of the Bear Express. The Hurricanes record remains unblemished after surviving a scare from those little Devils from Winston Salem and Clemson bounces back in College Park with a shellacking of the Terrapins. The Oklahoma State Cowpokes went up to Ames and delivered the Clones their seventh defeat of the season. Notre Dame has no difficulty in dispatching Air Force. In the game I bailed on, San Jose State wins an exciting offensive shootout against the Wyoming Cowboys  51 – 44. In the last game of the evening, Derrick Carr and Fresno State win an OT thrilla at Qualcomm against the Aztecs.

Chucky Cheesecake
Beiber Award - This one is hard to deal with. After much debate with myself, I have accepted my own fate:  I am this week’s Beiber award winner for bailing on the annual San Jose State Tailgate and game. Although my rationale for bailing was noble and well received by family, I do not think the Tailgate Nation sees it that way. I have been called names, harassed and threatened for wimping out, and well deserved I might add. What hurt the most is that the game was absolutely electrifying and they had a free fireworks show to boot afterward! On bended knee once again, I beg for your understanding and forgiveness.

R Lee Ermey Rant
– Players with lower IQs than a tree sloth that talk smack at the wrong times. Here is an example of what I mean: In one of the 39 games I watched yesterday, my remote landed on the Ole Miss – Idaho game for a short time. The Ole Miss defense has the nickname “Landshark” and they will emulate a Shark symbol after making a big play. That is cool especially if you know how the name came about. What is not cool is that Idaho was down by 462 points and they made a defensive stop. One of their fine upstanding scholars decided to mock Ole Miss mimicking the Landshark ritual accompanied with a throat slashing gang sign. To say the least the guy only embarrassed himself, his team was penalized, and he thoroughly displeased his coach who could be seen asking the chosen one “What were you thinking?” Had Idaho been winning, the mimic would have been acceptable. A throat slash is never acceptable. Also, when your team is losing like France in a world war, shut up, dig in and continue to fight!

Next week the Tailgate will be attending a wedding of a family member. Who schedules a wedding during the football season? Mrs. Tailgate had to enjoy a Notre Dame - USC match 25 years ago on our wedding day. Don’t worry, I will have my mobile app rolling and I will socially ignore all around me.

The Kernan family at Joey "Stewey" Kernan's Hamden Sydeny College game

Happy Tailgating!