Tailgating is almost like a religion to some die-hard supporters of their favorite college or professional teams; just ask any fan! Hosting a tailgate is supposed to be an exciting occasion for you to spend time with friends and family and enjoy some of the best things that life has to offer: beer, food, and football. You don’t want all of your hard work to go to waste and your football tailgate to run awry, so here are the 10 Commandments of Tailgating for you to follow. Abide by these tailgating tips, and the only thing you’ll have to worry about is whether you should make barbeque wings or buffalo ones.
Don’t assume you alone are entertaining enough for everybody.
You very well may be a born entertainer, but chances are, you’re going to end up spending a lot more time behind the grill than hanging out and chatting with your buddies. In your absence, you should keep a TV on hand so you can all watch the game if you don’t have tickets, and set up some speakers so you can enjoy your favorite tunes all day long.
Don’t bring food that spoils easily.
Anything with milk or cream in it can spoil pretty quickly in the heat, so it’s best to leave the chicken alfredo or any other rice/pasta dishes at home. (Come on, people, it’s a tailgate. Finger foods all the way.) Fresh fruits and vegetables can be a refreshing change from all of the grilled food, but if you aren’t vigilant about keeping them on ice, they’re going to get half-baked in the sun, mushy, and disgusting.
Don’t run out of food or drinks.
If you forget everything else, don’t forget this. Food and alcohol is what keeps the party going, so don’t kill the vibe by only bringing enough wings for ten people when you invited over forty. Also, you don’t want to give all of your precious food away. Don’t be selfish, but there will be literally thousands of people wandering around and if you offer food to every one of them, there won’t be any tasty tailgate recipes left for you and your friends to enjoy.
Don’t forget to prepare for inclement weather.
Especially if you're bringing your TV and speakers. Have a large tarp and a few umbrellas packed and ready to go in your truck so you can pull them out in a flash if need be. And, don’t ever buy or bring a flashy, overly complicated tent that takes a whole hour to take down and pack up (you’ll really regret it if it starts raining buckets).
Don’t try to do everything yourself.
You should be able to have fun at your own party, so don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to set up, cook, and clean everything up all by yourself. If your friends are true friends, they will offer to help you out, but if they don’t, you should ask them.
Don’t drink too much.
This should be a no-brainer, but it really isn’t. You can have a good time and a few drinks, but in the end, you are responsible for your own tent, grill and your other belongings. You want to make sure that everything is running smoothly, and in case of an emergency, you need to be prepared to handle it.
Don’t forget to bring chairs.
You can’t really count on others to remember, so in addition to bringing a chair for yourself, you should bring a couple extra for your friends. Especially once the game itself gets going, everyone is going to want to sit down and watch, but not on the ground (with thousands of people walking around, you don’t want to find out firsthand how gross it is).
Don’t arrive late.
As a general rule, you want to show up at least 4 hours before the game is set to begin. This will give you plenty of time to set up, cook, and clean without having to miss any of the action. Not to mention, the last thing you want is for your fellow tailgaters to show up before you arrive with the tent and have nowhere to go. Awkward.
Don’t forget to bring water.
After drinking Lime-a-Ritas all day in the hot sun, all you are going to want is four bottles of ice cold water. Stat. Not drinking enough water can rapidly lead to dehydration, and the last thing you want is for you and your friends to end up sick, or worse, in the hospital.
Don’t be afraid to go with the flow.
So, one of your friends decides to bring six more friends along with them, and they don’t tell you beforehand. Instead of getting worked up and worrying about running out of burgers, just go with it. If you make a scene, it’s just going to make things uncomfortable for everyone, and if you planned well enough, you should have plenty of food for everyone.