Tailgating 2013: Lessons Learned

2013-10-15T12:00:00Z 2013-10-23T14:53:22Z Tailgating 2013: Lessons LearnedJoe Drozda and Bob Bley nwitimes.com
October 15, 2013 12:00 pm  • 

Joe Drozda and Bob Bley are writing the third edition of The Tailgater’s Handbook which will be published in 2014. Drozda is considered the “Father of American Tailgating” by many including The Wall Street Journal. Drozda and Bley both grew up in NW Indiana and attended Indiana University together.

Richard Brookhiser, an American journalist, biographer and historian, and a senior editor at the "National Review", once wrote an interesting historical-fiction piece in "Forbes magazine" describing the inauguration of tailgating. According to Brookhiser, it all began at the 1904 Harvard-Yale football game so tailgating has actually been going on for more than a century. If you believe that with age comes wisdom, then there must have been some lessons learned during the last “five score and eleven years”.

Here are a few examples we have observed that should improve your tailgating experience by saving space and money, in addition to simplifying your game day preparation routine:

• Don’t pay for things that you can make free. A plastic juice or milk bottle can be washed, filled almost full with clean water and frozen in your freezer. Why pay for ice when you can make your own?

• Re-use containers that are disposable. A gallon ice cream tub makes a perfect disposable chili container that can be thrown away on site after the game. Remember that chili will stain your Tupperware.

• If you need a fire for warmth or cooking use burnable packaging. Cardboard boxes, paper bags and newspapers make good kindling for a fire or to light charcoal without that smelly lighter fluid. Note that used paper plates can also be burned.

Remember that tailgating is to be a relaxing social experience. Use your brain here to schedule your departure to the game ahead of traffic, and the return home after most traffic has cleared. By arriving early you won’t need to rush your set-up and most importantly, you’ll have more time for enjoying friends. With good friends you’ll need good food. Chili is always a favorite! Try this recipe that won a cook-off contest several years ago at the Indiana State Fair.

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