GatorTailgating.com's Tips for Respectful Tailgating
We’ve all heard the familiar Gameday phrase, “Nobody Likes a Sloppy Gator,” in reference to the drinking habits of spirited tailgaters. With the first official tailgate of the 2010 season approaching this Saturday at the Orange and Blue game, we want to take that catchy little phrase a step further. We pride ourselves on setting the standard for respectful tailgating; not only that, but we appreciate certain freedoms allowed to us by the University of Florida, and want to protect those freedoms on campus. Here’s why:
Every football Saturday, we pull in to our spot on Gale Lemerand Dr. and start unloading our set-up for the day. Coolers come out, tents go up, we mix mimosas to toast the day. But before our eyes cloud over with beer goggles, before we tune the satellite to the first SEC games of the day, we all have a moment where we take a look around, even for a second, to marvel at how gorgeous the UF campus is. The trees, the brick, the history (and yes, those hottie-hot co-eds on their early morning jog) are as much a part of the Gator Nation as tailgating is. We love what we get to do during football season… and we sure don’t want to see it be taken away!
You may be wondering what brought this all about- well, the University of Georgia is facing some serious revisions to their tailgating policies for the 2010 season. They first introduced their Gameday Gameplan (click here for link) in 2006, with three goals in mind: to enhance the gameday experience for everyone, to ensure that gamedays are safe, especially for students, and to preserve the beauty of their historic campus. Well, one and two were well-received by UGA fans; the third, not so much. Now, they’re faced with stringent guidelines for the North Campus, including such restrictions as no tailgating until 4 hours before kickoff, no kegs, no tents, no grills or cookers of any kind…. And that’s just a few of their revisions! These guidelines will affect the tailgate experience of anyone who previously frequented the UGA North Campus, and all because fans didn’t treat the campus with care.
Furthermore- we at GT received an awful, terrible, no-good, very bad email from an enraged LSU fan after the game in Baton Rouge last year. It was accompanied by this picture which disgraces the Gator Nation as a whole.
We would not take to opposing fans kindly who treated our precious University this way, and it’s up to us to set a good example, not just for one another but for the visiting teams and fans as well.
So….. How do we suggest you adopt this responsible gameday behavior? By following these tips, of course!
- Keep it all in good fun. We all love to celebrate not only Gator Greatness, but the corresponding inferiority of opposing teams. But there’s a fine line between good-natured razzing and blatant disrespect. Know the difference. Practice the former. (Sure, this is coming from a tailgate at which a banner read “Volunteer Your Wife/Cousin" last year- but hey, we’re still learning too!)
- “Put it in the can, Gator Fan.” Be prepared at your site for a lack of trash receptacles. The University does tend to provide trash cans, but just in case, bring your own trash bags and some handy-dandy duct tape to attach them to a tree and keep your area clean.
- Speaking of cleaning- clean as you go. This makes for a more enjoyable experience throughout the day… and doesn’t leave you with a big ol’ mess to pick up once you are adequately intoxicated.
- And speaking of intoxication….If you are planning on hittin’ the sauce, do yourself (and all of your fellow tailgaters) a favor and find a designated friend to look out for you. Beg, borrow, steal, or hire out for this service. A certain GT founder is quite thankful for his designated friend at the Vandy Game 2008, who didn’t pour him into the car and leave him for dead, but rather hustled him down the street and into the stadium for a snack, some caffeine, and what turned out to be great game.
- And speaking of “sauce”…. Pack a responsible cooler. Beer cans are more compact when packing, crush down for easy disposal, and there’s no worries of them breaking and ruining a Gator Girl’s perfectly pedicured and flip-flopped feet. Plus, without canned beer, we would have no shotguns!
Overall, just try to be prepared, and be mindful of your actions… it’ll make celebrating your Gator pride that much more enjoyable!
Oh- and if you wanna see how GT practices respectful tailgating- head on out to Orange and Blue this Saturday! We hope to see you there!
Tamara Herchel is a columnist for GatorTailgating.com