Tailgating Accessories and Tips

Gators 13-LSU 3

Following a college football team offers so many opportunities for wholesome family fun. Some of our happiest family memories are set on Norman Field, in Gainesville, tailgating before a Florida Gator football game. For away games, we all crowd together in our living room, cheering, moaning, eating and chasing the babies away from in front of the TV. As was often said in our small town local newspaper coverage of each neighborhood, “A good time was had by all.”

There are also creative opportunities to pursue in the sewing room. The pictured embroidered terry cloth is actually a Martha Stewart dish cloth, repurposed as a tailgating napkin. When I see items in our team colors, I usually buy up everything on the shelf. So our tailgating box has a huge stack of these napkins, embroidered with a free “hungry gator” design offered many, many years ago, and text that names all SEC opponents and various other teams against whom our team has played. The opponent’s name on the napkin instigates a lot of  “Remember LSU 2008? 51-21 Gators! Wasn’t that a great game?”


note wash station on left, at tree

When we have messy food, such as barbecued ribs, a paper napkin just won’t do the job. Wet, these napkins, are much more effective against sticky foods. There is some distance to the bathrooms and running water, so we always take several jugs of water, some with liquid detergent added. I wrap a piece of elastic around a tree, tuck in several Gator hand towels and hang a bar of soap from a ribbon.   This gives everyone, most importantly the cooks, easy opportunity to wash hands before preparing food.

Much has been said, in this blog and in sports news, about the importance of football in the South. Weddings and vacations are often timed to work around the game schedule.

My friend Judy has a family full of mixed marriages. She, her husband and son all graduated from Tennessee. One U of Georgia daughter married to a Florida Gator while the other Georgia daughter married another Bulldog. Each man of the family has a team dress vest, worn under their coats to weddings.

At the reception, the coats come off and you can see a man’s “true colors.” Her second daughter’s wedding was scheduled so that the family could watch the Tennessee game before the wedding and would be home in time for the Georgia game.

My daughter’s 6 p.m. wedding was scheduled for the day of an away game, with kick off at 8:00. Adjacent to the reception tent, a football tent was set up with a TV. One guest went through the buffet line and set himself up in front of the TV before kick off. He was soon joined by another fan.

By the second half, you will see that the tent is full, with men, children (that’s my 14 month old blond grandson in pajamas in front of the tv) and even some of the wait staff. The groom himself is at the far right in the back. In spite of the disappointing loss to Auburn–the season’s ONLY loss– a good time was had by all, at least until the third quarter was over.

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