I’ve lived through a lot of tailgates. I saw the U-haul era with no rules, the U-haul era with some rules and the tennis courts with lots of rules. I’ve seen the Harvard tailgate, which was so boring I had to leave.
I’ve seen our Bulldogs come a fake-punt away from beating Harvard. I’ve seen us beat Harvard statistically, but let in a touchdown on a kick return. And then, last year, I saw a massacre. I don’t know what this weekend will bring, but I do know this is it. This is my last tailgate, my last football game, the last time I can watch some of my best friends play.
A reflection is now in order. Not only with my memories, but with the remembrances of my beautiful peers. There is no need for names, because on the tailgate field you lose your name in a way. I mean, who really cares as long as we are all rooting for the same team?
Sept. 26th 2009: It’s the first tailgate of his life. The first time he’s been on the tailgate field instead of in the locker room listening to a pre-game speech. He’s a junior, but today, it’s as if he is a freshman. He went to Salvo a week ago to find the most colorful 80s jumpsuit on the rack. He rode in on the back of a U-Haul to the tailgate — ’cause he hears that’s what people do. He wants the full experience. He somehow finds a golf cart and piles his friends in to drive around the tailgate field. He’s happy. He’s in his element.
There is a freshman girl who thinks she knows how to party, who thinks that keeping up with college life will be a breeze. She sees a guy driving a golf cart. He looks like the life of the party. She wants to meet him. They meet, they shake hands and they flirt. He’s slurring his words, but she’s seen worse. Then she sees a small dark spot starting to grow on his shorts. “Um, are you peeing yourself?” “Yea, don’t worry about it. COLLEGE.” She realizes she isn’t ready for college.
Nov. 20th 2010: A brunette girl sees a betch she knows fighting with a cab driver on the streets of Cambridge. The girl walks up to the betch to see if she can help. “ … he won’t take me to Pierson. I just want to go to Pierson.” The betch yells when she sees the girl.
“Uh … we’re in Boston.” The girl pulls the betch away from the cab. The betch starts calling someone and then hangs up. The girl looks at the betch’s phone and sees she has 11 outgoing calls to the Yale Mini Bus.
She is the betch. She came on a party bus and got off somewhere around Boston University, because the bus wasn’t party enough for her. She confused BU with Harvard until she started yapping about The Game and no one knew what she was talking about. She smiled and excused herself and hailed a cab. But her vision became slightly more blurred, and when her friends were nowhere to be found she thought the Yale minibus would save her — all that freshman orientation had gone to her head. Her phone eventually died. A police officer eventually bought her coffee and she found her way on to another party bus the next morning, and partied her way back to Pierson. No minibus needed.
Nov. 5th 2011: He had a good night. He woke up still drunk. He put on a robe and climbed into the back of a U-Haul, not really caring where it was going. He walked out into the sunlight of the tailgate fields ready to embrace the day. He can’t remember who, but someone kept refilling his solo cup. “No, no I have to catch a train for my mom’s birthday in a little.” But it kept refilling until it was too late. Until his friend ordered a cab and paid the driver extra to make sure he got to the train station. He walked into his mother’s birthday party wearing an alcohol-drenched robe, but at least he had sobered up.
These stories could be anyone, one of your roommates for all you know, because inevitably, what happens on the tailgate fields stays on the tailgate fields — that’s how it should be at least.