I gotta say, I have never been a big “Tailgater.” I have always been amped to secure tickets, get a decent parking spot and make my way to what are hopefully good seats for the game. But I totally get it! Many alums and fans view the Tailgate as more than a precursor to the main event. The work and preparation that goes into hosting can be immense. Most would likely say it’s a labor of love. Others would say that you cannot divorce the Pre-Game and Post Game from the “Big Game”—it’s all part of the game day experience. From Buffalo to LA. Football to Baseball. The Tailgate for many fans is something to look forward to, savor and even carry on as a family tradition.
The food is the main event. Whether it’s grilled, fried, steamed, prepared in advance and simply heated up, it can represent a tradition carried on from one generation to the next. Italian sausage and peppers. Brats and kraut. Cheeseburgers or elaborate BBQ with all the fixings. Even thick T-Bones done just right. The smells. The sounds. Background music blaring from car stereos to old boom boxes. Proclamations of confidence in a forthcoming victory. Tales shared of past games won or lost. The “remember when we ran out of food early but our neighbors saved our bacon and fed our remaining guests…” All of these elements lead to the experience that is uniquely American and securely tethered to the game or match about to be played.
But none of it happens without the planning and preparation, coordination and desire to celebrate. In the end, it’s a community celebration that means enough to the hosts to go through all of the work and expense to make it happen. Hospitality in its most genuine form. The desire to create something special for others and develop a new tradition or carry on one started decades ago. And what is shared? More than food and drink. Love of school or team. Disdain for the opponent. Hopes for a victory for the ages. And regardless of the outcome, every Tailgate represents an opportunity to win. Old and new friends are introduced. A good joke shared amongst revelers. The satisfaction that comes with every bite of something hot off the grill.
It is one of the reasons we created Heritage Gear, so that our products lived within the sporting and tailgating community and all that comes with it. Our totes and weekender duffle bags used to carry in everything from sweatshirts and hats to top shelf bourbon and Bloody Mary mix. Footballs and frisbees to throw around the parking lot.
Made to last. Looking great. Something to savor and appreciate. From generation to generation. Friend to friend. Like every great Tailgating tradition.