Every tailgate has its own unique experience. I have a few friends that attended Ivy League colleges, Harvard and Yale. Both spoke of their fun prior to the football games, the only thing they had in common was the time the drinking started; both replied early. While Harvard had a slight stuffy side too them, wearing sport coat and tie and the ladies dressed as if it was a society ball (weather permitting). The food on the menu was caviar and foie gras (duck liver) with hot fresh bread and crackers, among other things. The beverage of choice was beer, champagne and Gin Martinis (stirred not shaken of course). Yale carved chucks of professionally made sub-sandwiches on six foot planks, you know those huge sandwiches you can’t even get your mouth around (is your mouth watering yet?), while shotgunning (punch a small hole at the base of the can, put your mouth over the hole and pull the tab) their favorite beers.
The last time I took part in an outdoor tailgate party was 1990. I had just arrived back in Seattle, from my six month coaching experience across the pond in Blackpool, England. Looking to start my college coaching career, I had to wait until the spring of 1991 when I could get back in school to finish my degree and coach with the Washington Huskies. You see the University of Washington stadium sits on the shore of Lake Washington; Mount Rainier is the back drop, along with the Cascade Range with snow top peaks, the most picturesque setting for all of college football in the country. Husky fans travel to the games several different ways, bus, car, sea plane and boats. A close high school friend invited me for every home game to tailgate on his 45 foot cruise liner. We arrived early, four hours before the game and anchored several hundred yards off shore. His tailgate menu was off the chart, the only question was did you want breakfast, lunch or appetizers. The Eggs Benedict with fresh squeezed orange juice was my favorite. The clam chowder in sourdough bowl or fresh smoked pacific salmon, bagels with cream cheese and cappers was always a major hit. For those that wanted heavy appetizers Ribs, brats and Burgers along with his famous award winning five bean beef chili. As the game nears you request for pick up, a twenty-five foot boat, brings you to shore.
A football Junkie and current NFL Analyst, I spend Monday through Friday and all day Sunday covering and analyzing the NFL and other professional football leagues. But on Saturday’s, I get my P90X workout in, and then I crawl into my man cave, position myself in front of my 50 inch Samsung big screen with channel changer in hand, despite four way split screen. This day is totally dedicated for College football. As a fifteen year personnel man and front off executive for nine years, it is natural for me not to have a single day off. As I fire up my laptop, clicking on my file for my digital Draft Board, I’m ready for the College game day crew in the morning and end with the west coast games close to midnight. ESPN or SEC on CBS are my favorite channels. While my friends want to come over and hang out, bribing me with Toasted Ravioli, meat and cheese platters and all the beer bong drowning I can handle.
As I finish this column, Alabama takes the lead over Arkansas with 3:19 in the fourth quarter, Bama winning 24-20, I prefer a full day by myself. I’m busy studying the top 150 players that appear on TV every Saturday, and really don’t have time to socialize; my wife makes an occasional pit stop to check on me. Healthy snacks are the choice of my man cave tailgate, along with water and a diet cokes. Following the afternoon game as College football heads into the evening, I will position myself on the pool deck and glare into the picture window as I enjoy my favorite beverage of choice and a Tatuaje cigar.