Screams, tents, shirtless men praying out loud in front of trash can fires … it can mean only one thing — no, not The Apocalypse — it means tailgate season is in full tilt! All the scientists agree: throwing a nice little outdoor American Soccer party with thousands of your closest friends is the very best way to support your team and feel at one with all living things.
And we’re here to help make sure your parking lot jamboree is done right, that you reek of team spirit. We want to make sure you don’t get Canceled by the American Tailgating Society. We want to make sure you feel good about feeling terrible Monday morning.
A well-executed tailgate party won’t ensure you get the respect you never got from your parents, boss, spouse, or children, but it will distract you long enough to forget about next week’s barrage of Zoom calls.
This is the most crucial thing to get right, what makes or breaks a tailgate party. Which means it’s time to bring your A game. Which means no hockey puck burgers, boiled hotdogs, and stale chips. Chicken soup from a dented old thermos? Who are you, Rocky?! Cheese from the nozzle, no chaser? You deserve to be alone. Remember, it’s called tailgating, not failgating!!!!
Get creative. Know there are no limits. Know you can put corndogs on drones and fly them into peoples’ smiling faces. Know that the US Constitution protects your right to fill a piñata with ranch dressing and carry two fully-loaded queso rifles.
So instead of another gas station burrito you heated up on your engine block, try…
Create lifelong friends or start a blood feud … with a Chili Cook Off! Nominate partygoers to bring their favorite chili recipe and keep them warm in a slow cooker. Label each of the slow cookers with a number and have guests vote on their favorite! Invite neighboring tailgaters to partake in taste testing and become the favorite tailgate spot in no time!
Or be the tac-o the town … with a flippin’ taco bar!
We could go on forever. There are as many food options as there are thirst traps on TikTok. Just follow your heart (and Pinterest) and stifle your inner cardiologist and the glory of the tailgate shall be thine. Ask yourself: what would Guy Fieri do? (We hope not the cheese nozzle thing.)
TIP: There’s no “I” in “Team”, but there is … “Meat!” Here’s how to master your meat.
(Also: Meat-based plants like corned beef are an excellent option for your vegan friends 👍 )
DON’T: Full body paint. This is actually dangerous, and not just to your reputation and upholstery. Turns out your pores aren’t just “there” to “pore”. You want to drown in your own meat sweat? Because this is how.
(What’s the difference between a “Tip” and a “Don’t” you ask? Here’s a tip: don’t ask, keep reading!)
DRINKS / TEAM SPIRITS
Whoever said that one’s reach should exceed one’s grasp must not have been talking about liquid refreshment! Imagine, always reaching for your koozie, always coming up short? That’s nightmare fuel, like some punishment out of Greek mythology.
Luckily these beverages are well within grasp.
- Skip the beer! Easy jug-style cocktails to wow your friends and get…T!LTed.
- Beer bongs are so college for tailgates, class it up with a chambong instead.
Hard to beat a good Bloody Mary…also hard to schlep all the ingredients necessary to make one. Making a good BM shouldn’t be a Hail Mary! So praise the heavens for Cutwater and their cocktail in a can. But they’re not the only players stepping up the pre-mix game….
- Not Your Father’s Root Beer
TIP: Water. The universal solvent, the essence of moisture, the only substance known to humankind that can be both boiled and frozen #science. It’s what makes up like 10% our bodies. Drink it and keep drinking so you can keep eating and drinking.
DON’T: Probably not a good idea to drink like it’s your 21st birthday when it’s only 11:30 and the game doesn’t start till 7:30. And uh, probably don’t do any live-betting after you’ve had a few, ok?
Music. A party without music is like having food with no drink. Which is like having a party with no food. Which is like … you get the point. Music is essential to getting you in the mood to throw stuff at the big screen you just got done mounting [that’s what she said] on the back of your truck.
And if you want to crank out your “Jock Jams” tape with your old boombox “Say Anything” style, more power to you. But if you want more power to your music, check out this serious tailgate speaker/system. Or go for the more interesting speaker setup.
And of course, you need the right tunes, or what else is the use of your high-powered decibel machine, besides rattling the cups off your neighbor’s beer pong table, like Jurassic Park?
Is your team down by 30 points and you happened to ignore our “Don’t” advice above? Well then, enter …
- Tailgate Karaoke!
- Flex your pipes and make some new friends – Everyone knows the words to Don’t Stop Believing, right???
- Portable mic!
Music is also essential to any dance battle. Conflicts will inevitably arise, even in your parking lot Eden. It’s only a matter of time before some goober with a beer helmet and an LSU jersey is going to step onto your turf and steal some of your tater tots. But no need for violence, friend. Show him what it means to be human with your dance moves, Britney cranked to 11.
TIP: If you see a drum circle begin to form, weaponize your corndog drones.
DON’T: Stop Believing!
HALFTIME REPORT: A BRIEF AND TRUE HISTORY OF TAILGATING
To know where you’re going with your tailgate, you should know where you came from.
Tailgating began as a way to protect against chili rustlers, like the infamous Chili Nelson and Chili the Kid, who ran gangs that stole chili and shipped it to the northern states where it fetched an outrageous sum. Chili cooks would sit up all night on the tailgates of their chuckwagons, looking out for chili bandits, and on a good night would even shoot 10-20 of ‘em. Eventually friends and family got in on the fun. Someone brought music. The rest is history.
Who doesn’t love gear? Nothing (legal) makes you feel more geared up then gear. If you want to be serious, want to really get into action you got to get your rear in gear. Gear is what gets you ready. It’s just fun to say. “Gear.” And the proper gear will help you avoid being another #tailgategate casualty like that one poor schmuck who lost face — literally — when his Ben & Jerry-rigged Foreman grill blew up.
- Show some love to your favorite team with customized heart shades.
- In colder weather, consider layering: cheese/meat/dip/carbs/cheese. Or pump out some serious BTUs with Mr. Heater.
- Sorry Egg-Heads, but this Traeger grill and smoker is just more travel-friendly. We like this smoking jacket to go along with it.
Here’s a tailgating checklist to make sure you have the essentials.
Oh yeah. And it helps to have a you know, actual tailgate. That means a truck, RV, or, heck, a chuckwagon if you can get one on Craiglist. And if for some reason you never learned how to hotwire a Ram 2500 — we know the US education system is a tire fire — find a truck-driving Uber driver and tell them to keep the meter running and you’ll make it worth their while. Just show them your taco bar.
TIP: Need to beat the heat and also stay hydrated, while keeping the bugs away so you can get your own buzz on, but have no idea how to pull it off? Two words. Franzia. Misters. Mystery solved.
DON’T: Beer helmets
On second thought, actually, no, beer helmets are awesome and stand for freedom. This is America, after all. Beer helmets are back in! (They can also protect your head in case someone misses the piñata.)
We’re just gonna come right out and ask:
- Why Tailgate when you can Sailgate?!
Why mount a TV when you can have
- This easy-to-use portable projector, set up a sheet or poster board on your car or tent, and watch the game from your phone?!
Why pack an imperfect cooler when you can
- Pack the perfect cooler?! You can use frozen water bottles instead of ice, so it keeps your items cold and you have iced cold water to drink!
Why not check these out on TikTok?
Cornhole is a necessity. Customize yours to stand out!
So. Food. Drinks. Music. Gear. Ambience out the wazoo. Feel the team spirit possessing you? Great! Because this is the point of a successful tailgate! It’s a fundamentally spiritual event after all, the reason God created American Soccer in the first place. So don’t ruin it! Which brings us to our last no-no …
DON’T: be that guy or girl, that mega Karen or super Terry.
Support your team without supporting the efforts of local law enforcement. Be a fan, not a fanatic. We know it’s easy to get carried away after that second mango White Claw at 11:30 am, but take it easy. That person in a Cowboys jersey is still a human being (kind of.) And please, no trash can fires. We understand you are from Cleveland, but still.
TIP: Tailgating is tax-deductible so feel free to splurge!!!
Now go grab life by the football and hit a homerun for America.