Friday, June 16, 2006

How Do You Tailgate?

Last year, Sports Illustrated crowned Penn State the Ultimate Tailgating Venue. I know I've been to some doozies in my day.

Our tailgate experience usually starts around 6 AM in Jersey Shore, PA. That's where my uncle Ron lives. I leave my car at his house and we pile into his Ford F-150 usually with one of his buddies and we head down to the local grocery store where we meet Ron's lifelong buddy Cling and his dad. Then we head off for State College.

We're usually making the right at Damon's and rolling up the hill around 7 AM. We like to park right along the road so we can watch the cars and motorhomes drive through. We put up a couple of those blue pop-up tents and some tables and chairs. We get the radio going and put out the munchies.

By 7:30 AM we're mixing drinks and watching the sun come up over Mount Nittany. The drink of choice is Captian Morgans and Coke, but an Ice House beer or two has been known to disappear. It seems we always make the mistake of mixing the first one too strong. After that we spend the rest of the day practicing "buzz management." Our days of getting too hammered to find the stadium are way behind us.

If it's a late game, Cling will cook up some spam and eggs breakfast sandwiches on the grill. With some mustard and cheese they are quite tasty. I can't help but break out into the old Monty Python spam skit. How about some spam eggs sausage and spam? That doesn't have much spam in it. I DON'T WANT ANY SPAM! spam spam spam spam SPAM SPAM SPAM SPAM!

When College Gameday is in town, Ron and I have to go watch. It's kind of lame though. Unless you practically camp out over night you end up standing behind the barrier way out of sight of the set. You can see the show on the big screen they set up, but you can't hear a word of the show. I'm convinced they only set up the big screen so people can see when they are on television and start jumping up and down and screaming like idiots. But it's always fun to see Lee Corso pick the Lions to lose every time and prove him wrong.

Last year Ron got a converter that will allow you to run household electrical appliances off of a car battery. I can't emphasize enough how this device has taken our tailgate party to a new level. If you don't have one of these, get one. Now we spend the morning and afternoon playing Madden tournaments on the PS2. Ron always takes the Patriots, I'm the Broncos, and Cling has to take the Raiders. Ron and I both enjoy beating Cling. We also watch old movies like Caddyshack on the DVD player. We are clearly the envy of everyone passing by our tailgate party.

For lunch we like to mix things up. Sometimes Ron will smoke a turkey. Sometimes we'll cook up steaks or sausage on the grill. One thing is for sure, nobody goes into the game hungry.

So next time you're driving up Porter Road and you see some guys parked on the left eating spam and egg sandwiches under a blue pop-up tent next to a black F-150 drinking Captain and Coke and playing some Madden on the PS2, make sure you say hi!

How do you like to tailgate?
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