Like at any institute of higher learning, you must start with the basics. At the Tailgating U. of America, we're no different. Our first course is Tailgating 101.

TAILGATING 101: The Basics

1. Dress in team colors!!! Wear a team jersey or sweatshirt! You are the 12th man on the team and the 1st player on the Tailgating Team. Show your team spirit. Tailgaters are the best fans!!!!!

2. Plan your menu and do prep work a day or two before the game. Keep the menu simple (here are some sample recipes) and pack prepared food in disposable containers.

3. Make a list of the items you want to take along. Check off items as you pack. Pack paper products (plates, napkins, towels, forks, spoons, etc.) the night before. Remember such items as a small first aid kid, trashbags, water, and damp towels in ziplocks to clean hands and face.

4. Plan to arrive 3 to 4 hours early and stay 1 to 2 hours after the game.

5. Find a good spot to park. Not all parking spaces are created equal! Park next to a grassy area or at the end of the parking row--this gives you more room for serious tailgating!

6. Fly a flag on a very high pole so friends can find you.

7. Decorate your tailgate site with team pennants and other team stuff.

8. Meet your tailgate neighbors, throw the football with friends, read the Sunday paper and have a good time! Note: If attending a Thursday or Saturday game, substitute appropriate newspaper.

9. Food should be ready 1 and 1/2 hours before the game starts. This is plenty of time for those going to the game to eat, clean up and extinguish fires. (Those not going to the game can pull out the generator and TV.) Share food with neighbors. Swap recipes.

10. Leave area clean. Begin thinking about food and friends for the next game.

 

MUST HAVES FOR TAILGATING

Jumper cables After a great tailgate party, some would love to stay in the parking lot forever but everyone might not share that thought.

Toilet paper The MVP (most valuable product) of the parking lot. Don't get caught with your pants down in a Port-A-Potty with no TP.

Plastic trash bags for clean up. A dedicated tailgater always respects their surroundings and leaves it clean.

Extra ice There is no excuse to ever run out of ice. Just bring a full extra ice chest and enjoy.

Rain gear When everybody else is in their car or truck, you'll be cookin'!

First aid kit Just in case that football hits you in the head.

Sun block Even if you burn the food, there is no reason for you to burn.

A friend Change the life of a loved one. Bring them to their first tailgate party.

Comfortable shoes Sometimes we forget how much we visit and with the right shoes you can walk to your stomach's content.

Antacid With all the foods consumed at the tailgate, we need some help. Remember defense wins champion