It’s Time for Tailgatin’
Photo by ATL_AU_FAN
It is a bit of an understatement to say TET members and fans alike were disappointed and frustrated with the on-field results last Saturday. Some posters and commenters were more vocal—or “keyboardal” (it is a real word now; I just invented it, I think)—than others, but no one was pleased with the manner in which Auburn played that game. Yes, we could wax poetic about the officiating, but good teams find a way to overcome that barrier. Auburn did not.
This week brings another SEC opponent into Jordan-Hare Stadium. Auburn Head Coach Gus Malzahn and Arkansas Head Coach Chad Morris will be facing each other for the first time as collegiate head coaches. I have to hope beyond hope that Auburn, being the overwhelming Vegas favorite, has a much better time of things this week than last. Let’s get the “Gus Bus” back on track, and that starts with tailgating!
Instead of continuing to harp over things that are now in the past, I thought I would provide a wee bit of insight into what, exactly, we do on an Auburn Football Saturday on the Plains. I am sure there are way more elaborate tailgates around campus on any given Saturday, but this is what we do, and it makes us happy. We are not in any type of competition and don’t care to be.
The Tigers and Razorbacks will be playing under the lights so, for us, it will be a really long, glorious day of tailgating where we have the time to set up and fully enjoy a complete tailgating experience. The pic noted does not do justice to our normal game day, but it is what I had available. A little more after the break if you’re interested…
I’m fortunate that my job allows me to work from home daily, requiring only an extremely rare trip into the office. My immediate boss is based in Arklow, Ireland, but he already knows that I don’t accomplish a lot of work on Friday prior to an Auburn home game. On those Fridays it’s time to pack that Durango and get ready to head to the Plains!
Our tailgate, while lacking anything remotely close to resembling a “formal” name, is basically owned by me and a friend from Pike Road outside Montgomery along with a doctor from Birmingham. We all have tailgated for over 30 years, but this year is only the 6th that we have had our combined tailgate. We have other couples and families that join us on a regular basis, and they bring whatever else is needed.
Being a late game means our better halves “allow” us to put up 6 tents instead of the normal 4 because, you know, why not? If 4 tents is good, then 6 has to be better, right?
We arrive in our parking lot at 8:00 AM, or a little before, and start unloading our vehicles. Like a well-oiled machine we unload the contents of our vehicles to a staging area prior to actually putting up a tent or anything else.
We will have 2 tents, 4 tables, 6 chairs, a flat-screen TV, satellite dish and receiver, generator, extra gasoline for the generator, cooler with copious amounts of ice, more extension cords and power strips than will ever be needed, and Auburn-themed welcome mats.
Our true tailgate guru, Mike, brings 4 tents, 6 tables, 8 chairs, all of the necessary sides for the tents, 2 coolers with ice, fans, overhead lights and I don’t even know what else. The overhead lights are present since it is a night game, and we always have friends, new and old, without tickets, who want to stay with the setup and watch the game on TV.
Ben, our doc, also brings a generator and extra gasoline plus tables, extension cords, a cooler, ice and a full complement of accessories should the need arise.
Our brides take care of most the food setup. I generally have something that I smoked on Thursday night into Friday morning but that is usually my only contribution to the food arena. The girls work in harmony and communicate during the week, so nothing is missed. If we need one of the other couples/families to bring additional gear or food then our brides have it handled. For example, for the Alabama State game which was a late afternoon/evening game for which we pitched 6 tents, we had four crock pots with chicken wings, pork butt, beef sloppy joes, and baked beans, plus too many sides and desserts to mention.
When all is completed, we can be sitting and watching TV before 9:30. Now, I don’t know how many times we have visited Haley Center, J&M, Tiger Rags, Toomer’s, and the campus overall, but it’s a football Saturday, and why not? There is, after all, that one particular shirt or ball cap I meant to buy last week that just cannot wait any longer!
Since we usually stay overnight in Auburn, breaking down the setup after the game works fine for us as it allows traffic to be at a tolerable level. It only takes about 1/3 to 1/2 of the setup time to break everything down. And, that’s pretty much it. Except, of course, heading back to Atlanta early on Sunday morning.
So, Parking Lot X—corner of War Eagle Way and Village Lane—please feel free to come visit and stay awhile. You will see our American, Auburn, and Tigers Unlimited flags.
Remember to wear BLUE for this game. Everyone reading this is more than welcome to visit, and the only admission requirement is a healthy WAR EAGLE!