Tailgating remains a summer tradition

Russ Hagerman, Sports Editor

Russ Hagerman, Sports Editor

Russ Hagerman

Summer is at its end with all the smells and nuances. For some, it was long and tedious and for others, well, just non-existent. The ritual known as grilling is at its ebb. Say “Good-bye” to the warm embrace and “Hello” to a cooler wisp.

The fall semester at Southern is upon us at full tilt. There is nothing cool and wispy about it. Football is here and from the looks of things, it came in with a vengeance. With football come the tailgate parties. Now before anyone thinks that tailgating and grilling are the same, just slow down a minute and think. They are two different kinds of animals.

Summer grilling is feeding the family outside where usually the guy throws a slab of meat on the coals and sears it for a minute or two and proudly states he has fed his family. Tailgating on the other hand is a lifestyle all its own. It has a proud heritage behind it, all the while leads into a competition among “gaters”.

Some things go hand in hand while some do not. Football and tailgating are two in a marriage of sweat and bratwurst.

There is seriousness about it when a tailgater sets up next to another tailgater. As I see it, it comes down to a medieval science. Put meat, fresh or semi-fresh, on the fire after a little seasoning and you have the beginning of makings of the tailgate party. The thrill of the kill, mine is bigger than yours and the all time favorite of mine smells better, is the positioning of the “grill masters”. The winner will know by the throngs of people salivating near his throne just to inhale the aroma of the perfect burger charring over the flame.

The perfect Saturday afternoon or evening is to go to a home football game and partake in the festivities. Get together with your friends and classmates and cheer on the home team. The Lions did their part in the home opener. Now is the time for the fans to do their part. It takes three things to make the perfect football game, a football team, tailgating and the fans. The team showed up and the bratwurst did also. The fans now have to do their part. Everything feeds from the other. The team does well and the fans show. The fans show up and the team does well. With that combination, the tailgaters will throw more ‘brats on the grill.

We will have one big party on a Saturday afternoon; enjoy the game and a bratwurst. Man, pass me the mustard, please.