clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Where I Come From: Northwestern Tailgating Traditions/Lack Thereof

This post is sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011. 

The title of this post is funny, because I don't really have any tailgating traditions, besides waking up really early on Saturdays and figuring out which random off-campus house I need to end up at within the next 20 minutes to make this all plausible.

College football is about tailgating. It just is. All y'all who came before me all have great stories of getting kegs in Dyche Stadium, leaving games to go drink in the parking lot, and so on and so forth. (This, of course, coming from the time when munchies in Bobb Hall was beer. I was born at the wrong time.) All the other schools in our conference have police more than willing to let red solo cups in public go unnoticed on Saturdays as long as people don't do anything out of control. When I went to U of I last year, I was blown away by the ability to engage in normal drinking behavior outdoors without any consequences. Fraternities and sororities there go to bars before the game, make t-shirts about it, and nobody seems to mind. It's the way life should be.

Meanwhile, for reasons I can't understand, this isn't possible at Northwestern. As I'm sure some of you will say in the comments, there was once a time when drinking at games was acceptable. Now, the various powers that be in Evanston disagree on this.

Look: you're not going to stop college kids from drinking on Saturdays. All you can do is make said drinking less enjoyable and more difficult to regulate, and by definition, more dangerous. I'm not saying I don't enjoy tailgating in people's houses and backyards every Saturday, but I've seen the light, and it's good. 

Also, the whole tailgating set-up the way it is now essentially conspires to make sure I never, ever get to games on time. Games start at 11 AM. Because I'm a college student, I rarely, if ever schedule classes for before 11 AM. (I had one this quarter. I made it on time, like, twice.) However, football is important. To properly tailgate for a football game, you have to wake up at like 8:30. You have to figure out where you're headed, rush over, and then power your way through everything. By the time you're ready to go, it's 11. You hop a shuttle. You arrive at the stadium.

Twice last year, I did this, only to find out that Northwestern was already down 7-0. Therefore, I associate the current tailgating system with nothing but failure.

We have a great football team. 17 wins in two years isn't that bad. But our student attendance is worse than it was when we would have winless seasons, thanks to the fact that Evanston can't be like any other college town that majorly benefits from having tens of thousands of people bring in business on six Saturdays a year and chill out on those respective Saturdays to have an enjoyable gameday experience.

Rant over. Tell me about your actual enjoyable gameday experiences below.