Tailgating and subsequently going to see a football game live used to be a no brainer. People only had three networks and their TV’s were about the same image quality as a Nokia brick phone with a cracked screen. So, obviously, the only choice was to go grill and booze outside the stadium and then file in to watch the game from shitty seats, drunk like everyone else. But now we live in the age of cable and flatscreens. The choice isn’t as easy anymore. These days, there’s an ongoing debate amongst fraternities about whether to go to the game or stay home altogether. Here’s a few criteria I’ve worked up, and I’m going to solve once and for all what you should do. We’ll be considering both plans with four essentials in mind: ambience, community, food/alcohol, and comfort. Each will be graded on a scale of 1-5. This is how science works, people.
Tailgating And Going To The Game
1. Ambience- It’s a beautiful day, the smoke from the grill trails up into the last rays of sunlight as evening begins. Your night game kicks off in half an hour. This is heaven. Everywhere you look you see your brothers, sorority girls, and alums all wearing school colors, everyone getting drunk enough to have fun, but not so blackout that they won’t remember the game. Well, trying not to anyway. Hard to beat the atmosphere. 4/5
2. Community- Inside and out, you’re surrounded by people cheering for your team. Everyone around you has the depth chart memorized as well as an opinion on the defensive scheme your coordinator for this year brought in. And once you’re actually in the stadium, there’s nothing better. If you’re winning, by god it feels amazing to be surrounded by tens of thousands of other people just as excited about it as you. And if you lose, you have a whole army of therapists around. And when your team makes that magical fourth quarter run that no one was expecting and wins a game that people will talk about for decades? Well that, men, is the closest you will ever get to touching the face of God. 5/5
3. Food/Alcohol- I know what you’re all going to say: there’s nothing like the meat that comes off a tailgate grill. And that may be true, but that’s only if you have a grill master who knows what the hell he’s doing. If your grill is being manned by that idiot Davis every weekend, it’s not quite as great. And the biggest thing is that once you go in for the game, the only alcohol you’re going to have access to is the flask in your boot. Which is fine, but it doesn’t make for much variety. 3/5
4. Comfort- This is where things really start to get tricky. You’re going to be standing most of the day, and if you happen to have an afternoon game, it’s probably going to be scorching. Plus, you’re basically at the mercy of whatever the weather happens to be. Rain, ice, snow, dust storm, crab people: you’re mother nature’s bitch out there. And bleachers have never been known for being kind to the ass. 2/5
Game Day At The Frathouse
1. Ambience- This is a little trickier, because it all depends on how nice your house actually is. If your chapter lives in a pile of shit, then this kinda kills the mood. But if your chapter lives in a pile of shit, you probably have worse problems anyway, so there’s that. Otherwise, it’s not bad. 2/5
2. Community- This sorta depends. If everyone’s staying in, then it’s probably going to make for a good time. You can play beer pong while the games are on. Plus, the girls won’t be complaining as much, because you’re not all standing out in the heat. But you are going to have to convince a lot of people to stay in and watch all the games with you, otherwise you’re that goon who stays home and watches football by himself while everyone else parties. 3/5
3. Food/Drink- I know some people will disagree with me on this, but I’m giving the food and beverage edge to the house over the tailgate, for one reason: scarcity. Yes, I know that there are dozens of grills spread around that you could be hitting up, but you’ll never know what stuff is good and what isn’t until you actually put it in your mouth, and that’s a dangerous proposition. Once you’re at the tailgate, you’re pretty much confined to eating and drinking whatever you brought with you. So that means you have to decide what type of beer you want so the pledges can get it ready for you. And once you choose, you’re locked in. At the house, you can have whatever you like. If you change your mind, send a pledgebitch to go get it for you. 4/5
4. Comfort- Leather couches, air conditioning, bathrooms with locks on them, and a bedroom that belongs to you that you can fuck in during the commercial breaks. Need I say more? 5/5
So here’s the final tally, Tailgate: 14; House: 14. Oh look at that, a tie! How could that have possibly happened with these super scientific, not at all arbitrary ratings? Guess that means I’m going to have to make the final call on this. And I’m going with…The House.
Just kidding. Did you really think I was going to vote for staying indoors like a pussy when you could be experiencing college football in person? Look, you’re going to graduate a hell of a lot sooner than you think, and then years from now you’ll be watching football and see the students going nuts in the audience, and you’ll remember all the good times you had inside and outside that stadium. I don’t care if your team blows, or they police for hidden booze really hard, you’ve got an obligation. Ok, if you’re playing Wayne State I guess you can stay in for the day and actually show up for the real games. And if you actually go to Wayne State, maybe you should rethink some things.
Also, I know that I mentioned this a few columns ago, but it bears repeating. Has anyone else noticed that cheerleaders are getting less hot every year? I feel like I’m losing my mind. Ok, that’s all, carry on.