Tailgating: The pre-game warm up for fans

Steve Aubuchon and Cara Moreland, both from Raymore, Mo., prepare tailgating burgers before the Kansas City Chiefs play host to the Cincinnati Bengals in preseason action on Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. (John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/MCT)
Steve Aubuchon and Cara Moreland prepare tailgating burgers before the Kansas City Chiefs play host to the Cincinnati Bengals. Weber State University is holding a tailgate party for its homecoming game on Oct. 11 at 11 a.m.(John Sleezer/Kansas City Star/MCT)

All around the nation on fall weekends, fans gather to their respective stadiums to cheer their beloved teams to victory. What helps them keep the excitement each and every weekend? The warm up.

No, not the one where they players throw the ball around. We’re talking about tailgating.

Tailgating has a storied history, and many people still aren’t certain when it began. The general concept of bringing food to a football game is believed to have began when the first football game was played between Rutgers and Princeton.

The term “tailgating” wasn’t coined until 1919 when Green Bay began business as a football team, when fans would sit on the tailgates and partake of food while enjoying the game.

Tailgating varies from region to region. In the south, the smokers and grills come out, and the coolers of beer follow in suit. Other places, like Brigham Young University are just fine with stopping at Wendy’s and chilling with their bros before the game. Whatever you eat, if you bring it you can tailgate it.

Another big tradition are rivalry and homecoming games. Looking at the different traditions of tailgating, several are downright insane. At Florida State University, every time the Seminoles play the Florida Gators, they celebrate the game by purchasing a live gator and cooking it for luck the game.

At Arizona State University, the parties do get wild from giant cocktail mixers to a giant inter-school techno dance party.

But when game day and homecoming roll around, it doesn’t stop at the hours before the game. Texas A&M have a weekly midnight practice outside the stadium for all the students where they learn/perform team yells and chants. They even go as far as having yell leaders assigned to help prepare everyone to cheer their hearts out for the home team.

The Ohio State University will traditionally jump in a lake after their annual game versus conference rivals University of Michigan. Unlike many of the pre-game traditions, this is one that administrations are against. of course, that doesn’t mean students are going to stop any time soon.

Though many college tailgating traditions are antagonistic towards rivals, the majority of all tailgate parties are used as an opportunity for fans to mingle with the opposing side and share in the excitement and passion that each school has for their team. Though they will soon be enemies on the football field, during the tailgate party they are just there to have a good time.

Weber State is not an outcast to the tailgating scene. In recent years the President’s Office in conjunction with the Department of University Advancement have worked to bring the joy of tailgating to the fan base of Weber State. Their major event has been the homecoming game since it brings in different departments at Weber and sponsors from the community.

“For Weber State, it has been an opportunity for us to help get the school and its programs out in the open,” said Thomas Judd, special events assistant for the Department of University Advancement and coordinator for the event.

“We want everyone to see what makes Weber State great,” Judd said. “And we want to help both the community and the student body get excited for the homecoming game.”

When it comes to games, the one thing that sets the tone for a football team is the energy of the crowd. As tailgating helps to bring fans together, it helps in bringing both energy and excitement for all the fans who attend the game. Because when it’s third down and you’ve got a lot of yards to go, you need all the support you can get.

The tailgate party for the homecoming game will begin Oct. 11 at 11 a.m. and will be in the W4 parking lot adjacent to Stewart Stadium and will run until 1 p.m.  Students and members of the community are invited to attend the party and enjoy a good game. Weber State will take on Cal Poly at 1 p.m. at Stewart Stadium and admission for students is free.

Charles can be found tweeting @cbowkstar_91 or cheering like a fool at wildcat sporting events.