I’ll be heading back to my Alma mater, the University of Maryland (Go Terps!) for homecoming. While I shamelessly have no intentions on actually attending the game in physical form, I am beyond excited for the tailgate, which is, after all, truly the main event. I mean, if anything is more American than Football, it’s tailgating for football – or Nascar races, concerts, or any other affair that encourages drinking in a parking lot, for that matter.
But here’s the catch, you guys: I’m a little nervous! Like, I’m in decent shape and all, but tailgating is the kind of sport that requires the mental agility and physical endurance of a D-1 athlete and, honestly, I’ve just always felt more comfortable with the intramural kids. You know? Anyway, if there’s one trait I do embody well, it’s persistence. And I am PERSISTENT on having the bEsT taiLgate eva this year.
1. Have a Plan!
Apparently, walking around the parking lot with a case of beer as an alumn gets really old really fast. Like, I want a SEAT, man. I’m not the lithe and limber number I used to be. And more than that, I want a blanket and even – dare I say – an Irish coffee in case it gets chilly out. As an A-dult, these are the kinds of luxuries we have to plan for. And actually, planning is all part of the fun! So, go ahead and make a Facebook group to get your college friends pumped for the big day and coordinate who is bringing what.
Bonus tip: the Facebook group can also serve as a semi-legal gambling platform for bets like, “Who will be first to the tailgate?” or “Who will be first to the bar after the tailgate (#bentleys!). Win-win.
2. Order an Instagate.
I don’t want to show up at my tailgate only to realize I forgot some small-yet-important detail like tongs or napkins. That shit will THROW YOUR DAY OFF. Grilling can be a hassle in that sense – there are so many details. But let’s get real: a tailgate isn’t a tailgate without the grilling part (seriously, put your saran-wrapped sandwiches back in the lunchbox, pal.) Luckily, there’s this magical product called the Instagate: Tailgate in a Box, which takes care of a lot of the legwork involved with tailgating. Your cooler, grill, coal and all those other annoying necessities (ahem, tongs, napkins & silverware, I’m talking to you) are included. It’s also like $40 AND half of it is disposable so you don’t have to spend an hour post-tailgate drunkenly cleaning up. Cheers to that.
3. Book a hotel.
I’m 26 and I’m a LADY. If I’m going to pass out in a strange room, it’s going to be one I’m paying for, damn it. Gone are the days where we could crash on the floor of younger friends’ apartments and wake up fresh-faced and ready to drive the four hours home the next day. No. Now we deserve pillows and clean-ish Holiday Inn showers to take refuge in after the big day and get a good night’s rest. Amirite? Treat yourself! And also…
4. Pace yourself!
Three years ago at my boyfriend’s family’s annual tailgate, I had so much fun that I threw up the next day on the way home in the back of his parent’s car (#sosorrybabe). What can I say? I’m a sprinter, not a marathoner, and I got so excited I couldn’t contain myself. I have since trained myself to alternate alcoholic beverages with glasses of sparkling water (and maybe a slice of fresh lemon even?) because, as mentioned, I’m a lady. You can laugh and think it’s lame all you want, but I feel phenomenal the next day and my skin glows like Jen Aniston’s, so who’s really coming out on top here?
5. Bring in the reserves.
Just in case you, too, have little-to-no self-control and fear that you may end up drinking for 14 hours straight and closing your college dive bar (I ain’t mad at ya), you can still prepare for the next day in small ways. For instance, Emergen-C is a godsend. Take one with breakfast the morning of the tailgate and bring an extra for the next day. Two other products to also always have on hand are Nauzene and Dramamine. If you’re really hurting, Nauzene will help combat any stomach issues. Similarly, Dramamine works wonders on motion-sickness which just happens to also be a side effect of a hangover, especially if you’re spending the next day in the car driving home. Finally, a Gatorade and Molly’s Milk Truck Coffee are musts. The first is like, duh, and the second is a bottled iced coffee and the only caffeine I can stomach after a night out. So, you’re welcome.
Have any other tailgating tips? Comment below!