Tailgating Tips & Tricks

College football season is here and tailgate preparation is upon us. Take heed, your planning should go beyond making sure you sport your team colors.Know that there are a few must-haves you should go ahead and stow away in a container for the season. Some items you may already have in your automobile, and that’s great, but now is as good a time as ever to check for these essentials: a quality football for throwing (or two for that matter), jumper cables, toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, sunscreen (replace if it is old), a poncho, antacids, and hand sanitizer.Go ahead and plan to arrive three to four hours early. This means make sure your provisions are solid. Plan your menu and do all of your prep work a day before, remembering to ice down those beverages. Add your own style by working in your team colors into the tablecloth or serving pieces. Step up your game by bringing along a signature cocktail—pre-mix at least one batch to start your tailgate guests off right.Make a good streaming playlist—sure, you may think people need to flip on the radio and hear the college football scores from around the nation, but they do not, they are checking their phones. Throw some old school tunes on there from when you were in college, and you can either embarrass your children or impress your friends with your lyrical knowledge. Either way, the game hasn’t even started and you are winning.Several schools have instituted new rules this season as to what kind of bags can be taken into the game. For example: A clear plastic, vinyl, or PVC bag that does not exceed 12″x 6″ x 12″ is the new rule for Carter-Finley Stadium. Check your school’s website for rules and regulations because that shoulder bag you feel matches perfectly may not be game legal and dumping everything out while you’re trying to make it inside to get to your seat for kickoff will not make for a fun way to start the day or evening.Go ahead and plan for a good postgame parking lot activity—something you held back pregame, like a cornhole board or horseshoes perhaps. If you are a diehard fan (and do try to be), when your team is winning or losing and you remain in your seat until the bitter end you might as well just chill in the lot for about an hour post game and let the “gotta-get-outta-here” folks go before you try to fight that traffic jam.Keep these tips in mind, stay safe out there, be a good sport, and enjoy a winning season whatever your team colors are!