This is the third of a week-long series of posts sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 11.
Jeff: I gotta be honest. I didn't have too many tailgating traditions while in school, as two of my first three years were spent in press boxes covering the team for The Daily Evergreen.
But my senior year probably was like a lot of people, given the proximity of most peoples' housing to Martin Stadium: Gather at the fraternity with my best buds, eat some breakfast, gather in the basement to watch some of the early morning football, listen to music and consume some adult beverages.
It wasn't tailgating in the traditional sense of the word, but it was a heck of a lot of fun to get primed and pumped for Cougar Football Saturday.
Grady: First, a confession to make -- I have never tailgated at a Coug game. You have to consider the fact that a) I've been living in Pullman for most of the last seven years and didn't need to drive to the game and b) I was a student for six of those seven years and spent most of my pre-game time in line.
So, in reality, that's my tailgating tradition. Waiting in line with the rest of the die-hard student fans. Cards are a lifesaver for this experience, as is talking sports in general with my friends. Or making fun of other people in line (terrible, I know), booing the occasional opposing fan and crafting strategies to get the best seat possible once inside.
I would kill to have had my Droid or any smartphone in my possession as a student. Truly the best way to pass time, keep track on scores from other games, surf the web and play games.
So, for all you kids with iPhones in line this fall: SCREW YOU. You don't know what true boredom is, and you should have to suffer like the rest of us suffered.
Craig (Dancing Football): I've had similar experiences to Grady and Jeff. When I was student teaching and came back to Pullman for every football game, I would usually enjoy pregame beverages at a friend's house, then sneak into the front few rows of the student section about 10 minutes before kickoff. (Props to Legion of Coug, for which I am an honorary non-Beta member.)
Before you get mad about that, know that I earned it. I came to every game at least five hours early. I dressed up like a complete idiot (my moniker was the "Crimson Communist"). I spent four years going to football games without a drop of alcohol in my body; that student teaching year the idea of waiting five hours in line after driving three and a half to get there was no longer appealing.
As for those Saturdays I spent on the pavement outside Martin Stadium, I know exactly what you are talking about, Grady. At least five hours prior was the rule. There were certain groups that knew where they were going (the 20, the 35, and the 50) and we all stayed out of each other's way. Cards were most definitely a savior. My group of friends discovered a pretty entertaining set made by the Cranium folks. I don't remember what the rules were or what it was called, but it was awesome.
When my college days were finally over and I had assigned seats for the first time, that's when I experienced some real tailgaiting. My best friend's aunt and uncle are from the Tri-Cities and they go all out. Many of you would probably recognize their setup. They cook the best chili around (and offer it to all passer's by), have a dog named "Butch" that will growl and bark at the word "Huskies," and they have a giant picture of the real Butch on the side of their RV. Spending pregames with them is a blast. The aforementioned chili, shots of Tuaca, and an endless supply of cheap beer, then the promise of the same after the game finishes makes the beat downs a little easier to bear.
In cases like Apple Cup 2008, it makes a truly memorable experience. Nothing beats taking celebration shot after celebration shot with complete strangers after putting your hated rival on the brink of an 0-12 season. (Photo evidence at the top of this post -- I'm the one on the right.)
Brian (cougfan): My tailgating traditions were similar to all of yours. At WSU, the tailgating isn't like most schools. For undergrads, it consists of either waiting in line for the student section, or drinking at various houses throughout College Hill.
A typical Saturday for me meant waking up for College Gameday, having a few beverages in the morning, and watching the early games on a big screen in the basement. In the event of a Thursday night game -- Idaho during my early days there -- it meant getting out of class and seeing just how much fun we could have before the game. I've never seen so many falling down drunk students as I have during a night game in Pullman.
As I moved on from WSU, tailgating home games shifted to spending time at the Fieldhouse. The Fieldhouse is an underrated aspect of the WSU gameday experience. I highly suggest Mikey's gyros to go with your pre-game beers.
The first real tailgate I experienced was at the first Qwest Field game I went to. They've cracked down now -- to the point of not allowing it anywhere -- but the first time I went was a giant party that spread from Touchdown City to the South lot at Qwest. There was food, drinks, and WSU flags waving everywhere. As we left, it looked like a Busch Light factory exploded in the parking lot. It was a sight to behold.
Jeff: Trust me, Brian -- as a Seahawks season ticket holder, there is still tailgating around Qwest. You just gotta know where to find it. And I actually have tailgated once for a game in Pullman -- the same 2008 Apple Cup that Craig referenced. (How it is we never met that day is beyond me.) Unfortunately, before the game, I spent it with a bunch of Huskies. Fortunately, after the game, I spent it with a bunch of Huskies.
With that, we throw it open to you guys. We're especially interested to hear from those of you who tailgate regularly at WSU games. What's your routine? Where do you hang out? What do you consider the ideal tailgate?
And, of course, most importantly: To which game this year are we invited to join you?