There may be no U-Hauls, but we are now able to cheer on our football team as they strut through our Tailgate Village — and damn do they look good in their pads and tight spandex (well, most of them). SAE boys may no longer lounge on couches in tweed jackets or grill hotdogs, but there is now a ubiquitous amount of pizza/hotdogs/burgers/chips — basically every type of food your intoxicated appetite may want.
Once you get dropped off at the gates of the student tailgate area, you are greeted with a smile. There are no big nasty guards patting you down and smelling your breath — just don’t be that idiot who’s slurring his words at 10 a.m. You can bring in a bottle of Gatorade and who knows what’s actually in it, and even more importantly, who really cares as long as you’re keeping your act together.
Once in the tailgate area you will be greeted by the Women’s and Men’s Lacrosse team, who will be dressed up in something absurd — because, let’s be honest, Halloween is the best holiday, so why not have it every Saturday? Everyone will be dancing, because yes, unlike last year there is a DJ. And no, he is not some random DJ that plays bad music — he is Ari Gorfain. Ari will play that song you want to request but are too lazy to ask for; he reads minds. He is also not some random DJ that just sits there and stares at his sound system and checks his phone. He plays corn hole with the boys so he can learn a little about them. He will compliment you on your costume, or call you out for being drafted by the Cincinnati Reds — because, let’s be honest, that is something to talk about.
But in the end, tailgating isn’t really about any of this at all. It’s not about what we are wearing, the food we are getting to eat or who’s sober and who’s not. It goes back before any of us were even born, back to the tailgate fields (now tennis court area) as a place where everyone is welcomed. The field doesn’t notice what frat you are in or if you play a sport or if you prefer a cappella. It doesn’t care if you are in Theta or Pi Phi or think sororities are just plain dumb — there are no cliques on the tailgate field. Now the different colleges and frats may not get to ride in on U-Hauls, but they can each have their own picnic table and put whatever they want on it, from pink cupcakes and Peppermint Schnapps to Natty Light and potato chips.
The Athletic department didn’t put new rules in place or create the Tailgate Village to take away a tradition; they are trying to preserve it. They are trying to contain us, because sometimes in our 20s we need to be contained. They went to college once too, some of them even went to Yale; they understand tradition. They are giving us free food, booze and a DJ — what more could we ask for? So maybe everyone sitting in their rooms boycotting the tailgates because they think that’s the cool thing, needs to grow up, put some weird clothes on (or maybe don’t) and come dance. You can’t really have an opinion until you experience for yourself.
Maybe, this Saturday, the hipsters can mingle with the athletes, and the Thetas can meet some Pi Phis. Maybe more people will walk towards the stadium at kick-off and maybe the Yale Bowl won’t be so empty. Maybe our players will finally get to hear their names cheered by their peers instead of just their parents and maybe we’ll get to watch our Bulldogs beat the Tigers. Basically, put on your dancing shoes Saturday morning and carry out a tradition.
Chloe Drimal is a senior in Calhoun College. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org .
This column is part of the News’ Friday Forum. Click here to continue.