A look into the basic tailgating experience


Illustration by Yessenia Lopez

Saturdays are for the boys, but you go to Trinity University, where tailgating consists of Kappas playing fake beer pong on Prassel Lawn. So you decide to visit The One Person You Know at Not Your School and spend $70 to see a Division I super-fun death game in person.

As a guy, you wear an untucked polo with Not Your School’s logo paired with your second-best pair of khakis. Khakis are comfortable enough while still making a statement: “I kind of care about this event.” As a girl, you wear a cute casual dress in Not-Your-School’s color and spend at least an hour trying to look like you did not spend an hour trying to look good, while still trying to look good. You wear a long, funky-fun necklace and a pair of cowgirl boots you have never worn before except one time to Cowboys Dancehall.

You break in those boots by walking a mile to the tailgate site, where The One Person You Know is talking to someone you do not know. So you just stand there awkwardly, then remember alcohol exists. You drink some, or you do not because sobriety is a totally valid choice too. You consume half a hot dog or three hot dogs, washing down the smushed mixture of various animal parts with the aforementioned gross beer, which you might be too buzzed to tell is gross. You mask the taste of a somehow-burnt-and-also-cold weiner with your choice of Heinz condiments, accompanied by your second-favorite Lay’s product.

A person you just met takes a picture of you and The One Person You Know next to a truck or something. You hold a beer that you will (maybe) not drink while The One Person You Know holds maybe their sixth. You give your biggest smile of the day for an Instagram post captioned with emojis of a football and Not Your School’s mascot and hand sign. Five seconds later you delete it and wait until after the game to take the same picture with a different filter and a caption that reflects the outcome of the game. “Not My School may have lost, but I won with this one,” it will read, referring to The One Person You Know. You later get a warning text from your mom, sent while she drinks wine, about how you should not post alcohol on social media.

You play an actually really fun game of cornhole. You then walk to a ridiculously large, elaborate and possibly state-funded cathedral where you show your ticket app to a mousey-looking student with glasses. She gets paid more to scan tickets than the athletes do to play the super-fun death game, but you try not to think about it. You get hyped for the next three hours in which you see 15 minutes of actual game play.

At the end of the game, you react to the outcome with some type of reaction, dependent on the outcome of the game. You see that Trinity beat Millsaps and kind of smile because maybe we won’t suck this year, and also because that one football player you know from accounting class is a pretty chill dude. You travel back with the looming knowledge of the homework you ignored. It was a good weekend, you guess. You had fun. At least it looked like you had fun on Instagram.