Game day is a lot of things to a lot of people. A family tradition in the living room, a pair of tickets at the stadium, a night out at the bar with some friends. For some, though, it’s getting to the stadium early, popping open the rear of your car or pick-up, and opening a cooler full of beer while the game blasts over the radio. Those people are tailgaters.
Tailgating requires a lot of preparation and equipment. If you don’t have just the right tailgating gear, you can have a real bad time. Fortunately, years of experience across the country means that it’s no trouble at all to get just the right set of gear.
First, you need your grill. Propane is probably the most efficient type of grill you could use, but charcoal adds its own special flavor to whatever you’re cooking up. Accessories for the grill are a good idea: tongs, an apron, grill cleaner, etc. You don’t want to grab a set of sizzling brats with your bare hands, after all.
Speaking of cooking, you need to make sure your food is fresh when you’re ready to throw it onto the fire. That means a cooler of sufficient size, with plenty of ice and a tap at the bottom to drain the water when the ice is melted. Your cooler should be big enough not just for ice and food but, of course, for beer. What’s tailgating without a case or so of beer to enjoy while you listen to the game?
Of course, you’ve got to actually be able to listen to the game. A lot of tailgaters turn to a radio. It’s the traditional method of tailgating, though some tailgaters bring a satellite receiver or an antennae television so that they can watch the game. It may seem strange to watch or listen to a game in the parking lot of the stadium it is taking place in, but tailgating isn’t about being sensible, it’s about having fun.
After you’ve got the essentials of tailgate gear, you need to get your tailgate clothing. That means apparel and colors that show which team you support. Just like the audience in the stadium, you want to be able to tell everyone at a glance who you’re rooting. Mutual supports of the same team often come together in a tailgating party, sharing food and beer and listening to the game together. The right clothing makes what was a tailgate with friends into a community event, and that’s what sports are all about, after all.