(note: those folks above aren’t tailgating wrong, I don’t think. I don’t see any of my rules below obviously being broken)
Now that the NFL season is underway AND after last week’s rant about local sports radio callers jumping on the Ravens for being ‘old’ despite lack of evidence, I’ve decided to take my Walter Matthau-ian approach to life (Max in Grumpy Old Men, not Oscar from the Odd Couple) and call out every last obnoxious tendency, idiotic behavior, and general jack-assery, until every last kid is off my lawn.
Please note: All views and opinions stated do not reflect those of the entire Russell Street Report staff – merely those of my narrow-minded self.
This, is What Grinds My Gears.
It had been a while since my last visit to M&T Bank Stadium for a Ravens game. I’d call it a ‘fortnight,’ but I’m not exactly sure how long that is…never mind, Google just told me that’s two weeks which is far too short. And a ‘score’ is twenty years, so that’s not accurate either. Come to think of it, why do all of these outlandish measurements count by twos? No wonder they’ve gone the way of the $2 bill…
So a year. It had been a year since my last Ravens home game. And in such a lengthy time, I had forgotten all about tailgating! The drinks, and the food, and the random Facebook friends you haven’t seen since high school who just happen to show up as soon as you pop a tab, and the guy tailgating next to you while hot-boxing his Marlboro Reds and blowing the smoke in your general direction so you make passive comments hoping he’ll stop but you know that’s not gonna happen but hey, at least you can post about it on Facebook later…
I lied. I hate tailgaters.
Actually, that’s not entirely true. Some are pretty down to earth, laid back, enjoying that pregame vibe just like they say we should in the [enter cheap light beer] commercials, as they get psyched up for the game to start.
But then there’s these people:
Kan Jam Jerks
Oh, I see you’re planning on taking up roughly 20 parking spots so you can play trash can Frisbee, eh?
I mean, I don’t blame you! It’s not like other people planned to park in those spots, nor do they plan to park anywhere nearby where they could possibly consider their car a casualty of a minor party foul dent when you try to impress some random chick by rearing back and launching the Frisbee at full speed, only to completely miss the target, ding up a car or two, and watch your manhood get knocked back a few pegs all at once while said girl laughs and walks away.
But it’s all good- insurance ALWAYS covers Kan Jam fouls! And speaking of Kan Jam, quite the interesting choice of a tailgating game…let me guess: Cornhole is too mainstream these days, flip cup is too juvenile, and simply drinking while throwing a football around? Who in their right mind would do that while tailgating for a FOOTBALL GAME?
Craft Beer Tailgaters
Look folks. Tailgating serves 2 purposes: 1) eat & drink outside of the stadium and save $190.00 on a hot dog and a few adult beverages, and 2) enjoy yourself and hang out with a crap ton of people with common interests (both football, and see #1 above) while getting geared up for the game. And yet, as I wander through the lots and past a myriad of tailgates, I couldn’t help but notice folks drinking their $30 6-pack of craft beer.
While I can dig it that people can be hop-heads (I’m not)…I don’t get it at tailgates. I’m there to enjoy myself, kick back and have a Miller Lite or Bud Light (because Coors Light is just flavored water, and Natty Light is a kids request after playing ‘hey mister!’). I don’t need stout snobs giving me the stank eye for my relatively inexpensive drink du jour, while they explain to me how their beer has a light hint of grapefruit and something about barley…maybe something about fermentation? I don’t know, I usually phase those people out at that point in time.
But if you want to tailgate? Grab a light beer and carry yourself like a champ til game time. If you want a local IPA while bock-bashing a bro for not knowing the difference between a pilsner and a pale ale other than ‘one is dark, and one is kinda light?’ Go home.
These guys irritate me to no end. It starts with the simple text: “Hey! What lot are you in?”
You shouldn’t answer. In fact, you don’t. You let it ride and go about your business… then text #2- “I think I see you!”
Now you’re explaining that your phone was on vibrate and you didn’t realize they had texted you and next thing you know, they’ve made a plate, shotgunned a beer while working on their second, started eyeing up your jello shooters, and in the blink of an eye? POOF! They’re gone!
My friend, you’ve just been used. You were the Tailgating Tinder date. They swiped left, tapped that keg, and moved on to the next unsuspecting ‘friend.’
Don’t be THAT guy.
The Post-Game Tailgaters
Folks, tailgating is traditionally done prior to a football game, as a mean to lead into the main event. But when people decide after the game to stay and keep partying in the lot?
DRIVES ME NUTS.
Literally everybody except you has broken down the tents, closed up the grill and gotten ready to head home. But you? Nah, you still haven’t drank enough, and you’d much rather inconvenience the masses by leaving your crap set up right in the middle of the exit lanes. Oh you don’t enjoy the incessant honking? Then move that plastic folding table and put down the Fireball my man! Here’s a list of places that you could go after the game:
-The Horeshoe Casino next to M&T Bank Stadium
-Down to the Carnival Cruise port to wave Bon Voyage to random strangers
-Out of my way
The ONE exception to this rule- you can totally tailgate after the game if we beat the Steelers at home. It’s understood that you would gloat at every passing towel waving lunatic, shaming them for showing up and telling them to have a nice, long drive home. That’s like an unwritten rule.
All I’m asking is for people to tailgate like normal people should tailgate. Drink cheap beer. Eat real tailgate food – burgers, wings, hotdogs – not California rolls and humus. Be courteous to your fellow tailgaters around you.
And most importantly, realize we are all there for a common cause: to enjoy the Ravens game, hope for a victory, then go home and hound our fantasy lineups while feeling shame for drafting an AFC North opponent and hoping he does well, but not rooting for their team to win at the same time.