Having lost count of the weeks and football related questions that we have been doing this, I decided that I would shift the focus of the Roundtable. This week, as the season approaches and our anticipation grows, the questions will be solely on one of the grandest of all college football traditions; the tailgating and gameday experience. I have the luxury of living less than 5 miles from Bryant-Denny Stadium and the campus of the University of Alabama and being able to attend every home game – I’ve missed one in the past twelve years. It’s understood that not every blogger has that luxury, so feel free to modify your answers based on your situation. Email me when you get your answers up please (picmerollin(at)gmail(dot)com).
1. Given your preference, do you choose the watch the game on television or in-person and why?
As I have aged it does become more tempting to stay at home, not fight the traffic, crowds, weather, and people yelling for the coach to stop running it up the middle or to replace the quarterback, but all-in-all there really is no option; I’m going to be at the stadium. Regardless of the opponent or the conditions, walking into the stadium is one of my absolute favorite things in this world. Sure, television coverage is better and you certainly are able to get up-to-the-second information, as well as no lines for the bathroom and the ability to scream and jump up-and-down like a lunatic without awkward stares in your own home. But then again, that’s what Sundays are for. I love tailgating – all day – and the roar of the crowd and you just don’t get that at home. Some people fish, some hunt, some golf religiously. I watch college football – and to me, it’s just better live and in-person.
You just don’t get that at home.
2. As far as going to the game, do you prefer very comfortable or really sharp, in your attire?
One of the things that I dig about football in the South is that it’s an event. In my opinion, when one attends an event he or she should dress appropriately for the event. While I went through a stage where I wore a tee-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops to games, now I treat it more like a trip to the golf course; comfortable but slightly dressy clothes. I could go from the Quad to a round of golf at the nicest resort course and not get a second look (conversely, most of my gameday apparel has a second life as golfing wear). It’s got to be shorts and shirt sleeves for the early games but as the air cools I love to break out the slacks (I got a pair of red ones before the UT game last year) and button-downs. I love the fact that legions of girls wear dresses and heels to a football game. It’s part of what makes it such a spectacle.
Now, that’s just the way I want to dress. I have no problem with tee-shirts or other more casual attire. You need to be comfortable and that’s different for just about everybody, but I will make a few caveats. First, I don’t believe jerseys are appropriate for a male to wear after puberty unless he is, in fact, playing. Also for men, don’t ever wear a tank top to a football game. Trust me, no wants tickets to the gun show. Finally, I don’t care how dedicated you are to Alabama, shirtless and a kilt is a look for the carnival, not the Quad. Something tells me that Coach Bryant would have been a little creeped out about that. I know I am.
3. What your favorite gameday recipe or alternately, it’s just not tailgating without…
Miller Lite. It’s just so versatile. Wheter it’s 8:30 in the morning (don’t you dare judge me) and you’ve just set up two-dozen chairs or it’s 10:30 at night and you need a celebratory/what-the-hell-just-happened drink, it’s the perfect call. It goes with any type of food from chips, ribs, chicken, Conecuh sausage, birthday-cake, or chocolate chip cookies. It’s good in all weather conditions from blistering hot to freezing cold. It’s relatively inexpensive, is easily shared and universally accepted. It could very well be the perfect food. I know it’s not technically a food, but it does have calories and you can live all day on it.
I love beer and I normally don’t drink Miller Lite but it is a staple through football season. Throughout the rest of the year I might buy a six-pack of any variety of beers and work on it for a week, but during football season, we’ll put down several, several beers in a sitting. Like a sure-handed running back, Miller Lite is just the go-to. I’ve spoken before about my love for bourbon [Eds. Note: Please don't be upset Bourbon. You know you're my truest and deepest love and that you'll always be first in my heart. It's just, you're not cheap, you tend to disappear if I don't watch you closely, and let's be honest, you affect me negatively if we are together too long.]
If there was only one thing I could have at or take to a tailgate, it would be Miller Lite.
4. What is your drop-dead have to be in your seat time?
I don’t believe in missing kickoff (or leaving until the clock is zero for that matter – why on earth would you pay to watch a game and not see every second of it?!?), so that is probably drop-dead, but I like to be entering the stadium just as the rosters are completed and they fire up “Sweet Home Alabama”. Usually if I’m in my seat by the National Anthem I’m happy.
5. Is there any paraphernalia you have to take in the game with you?
I’ve tried binoculars, foam fingers, shakers, radios and programs. But over the years I’ve found it best to streamline. I don’t beleive in shakers anymore – men should not shake pom-poms, there’s usually someone with a radio and if they aren’t updating you automatically anyway they’ll usually fulfill your request for information, and binoculars are just too damn heavy for the little benefit they supply. There are two things with me in the game and they are both in my pocket; my cell phone (I get a lot of texts form out-of-town friends during games) and my flask – unless of course it’s hot or my kids are with me because I drink very little and no brown-liquor when I am responsible for their care.
Alright, not a single actual football related question. But all that stuff is as much a part of the football experience as the ball is. At least to me anyway.