It’s almost here, and I can barely contain my excitement.
Next weekend will bring something that many of us have been looking forward to four years. It’s an event bringing together multiple generations. An event of bitter, long-lived rivalry. An event to remember — or not — depending on how you approach it.
No, it’s not the thought of the Yale-Harvard football game that’s getting me through my senior paper rough draft (due Friday … eek).
It’s the Yale-Harvard tailgate.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is one event of epic proportions.
And although it’s a well-known fact that our tailgates may never match the degree of a big-party state school, I believe that fact is something we need to embrace. No, we don’t do this on a weekly basis like those state schools. No, we may not start the festivities before dawn, although “Kegs and Eggs” is a viable option. And no, we won’t have ESPN Gameday to rally behind, which we should have had two years ago — stupid Michigan (but those “Tressel drinks wine coolers” shirts were pretty hysterical).
Instead, here at Yale, we have our own tried and true traditions for tailgating (say that five times fast). And if you are looking for a first tailgate experience, there is no better weekend than Harvard-Yale to do so.
With that in mind, I want to share my favorite parts of the Yale tailgating experience, which also happen to be the things keeping me alive until all of my work is due on the 20th. I’ll also include a few dos and don’ts that have proven the most successful over the years at having fun and avoiding a ride home in any sort of municipal vehicle.
1. U-Hauls: U-Hauls are surprisingly easy to rent in New Haven, but that is beside the point. Not only are these monstrosities perfect places for large couches, stereo speakers and the ever-elusive keg, they are the best place to find your friends whether they are tie-wearing SAE boys or from your residential college of choice.
2. Freebies: A wise woman once told me, “If it’s free, take three.” I encourage tailgaters to apply this maxim mostly to the consumption of food and drink at the aforementioned U-Hauls.
3. ADPhi and/or Men’s Lacrosse: Costumes. Turkey-basters. Miley Cyrus. Break-dancing with townie three-year-olds. Awesome.
4. Food: Please, for the love of everything holy, go to the Pi Phi or Morse tent. They are masterpieces of tailgating art. And if you’re really nice, you may be able to get them to bring out the Puppy Chow.
5. Alums: Tailgates are the best times to see all of your old friends, talk to them about the real world, and brag about still being in the midst of the best four years of your young life (while silently whimpering at the impending graduation date on the horizon). They will be raging, and a promise of fun.
Dos and Don’ts
Do: Pace yourself. Harvard-Yale is a marathon, not a sprint. Remember that.
Don’t: Pass out before the game starts. The tailgate lasts past kickoff this year. Rally!
Do: Wear Yale gear or ’80s gear. Only.
Don’t: Under-dress. I promise, no matter what, you will get cold eventually.
Do: Congregate by the U-Haul of your choice.
Don’t: Climb on top of the U-Haul. You might fall. Or worse, get kicked out.
Do: Bring a camera. You will want to record, so that you remember, every minute detail of this day.
Don’t: Carry it in anything besides a fanny pack or any other bag that is permanently attached to your body. This is serious.
Do: Sing all the words to Party in the U.S.A.
Don’t: Change the song. Ever.
Do: Stay for the game.
Don’t: Forget who we’re playing. They suck.
And, to quote a fellow-tailgating lover from Vandy —
Do: Fist pump.
Tracy Timm is a class in Pierson College.