A tailgater’s gude to etiquette


by Matt Morain

Coming off the heels of Iowa’s JV version of Mardi Gras, the perennial Iowa v. Iowa State game, lessons are to be learned from the weekend in preparation for next year’s game (only 360 days away!)

In the interest of science, an observatory study in the art of the tailgate was compiled in Iowa City by an elite team of college scholars. Here are seven succinct conclusions from the investigation of tailgate etiquette, dubbed “Tailgetiquette.”

*The primary intent of a tailgate is to prepare for the upcoming game.

Never forget that you are there in support of one team or another. Often times in a heated game between rivals this can lead to conflict (sometimes armed). Showing loyalty via apparel will most certainly warrant cheers/jeers from fellow tailgaters.Be prepared to defend your team/self with obscure stats like the height and weight of the starting quarterback’s 12-year-old St. Bernard, or the number of bicycle seats the fourth string center has broken in the past year.

*Tickets are fun, but not necessary.

You can enjoy the game from the parking lot with a radio or TV and spare yourself the shot to the pocketbook delivered by a scalped ticket.

*Music is a must.

You may not enjoy every song per se, but at least it will help drown out the noise of your skin sizzling in the scalding Iowa sun and scramble your mind away from thinking about how much you want to whip the body-painted chucklehead with a thorny vine.

*Grills are grand.

Parking lots abound with beer brats and two-inch steaks . Also, never refuse offered meat. A Level 2 vegan was even seen inhaling sausage links in the second quarter merely because his team made it four minutes without a penalty.

*Part of the preparation is mood alteration.

Easiest solution: beer, if you’re able. It’s fun if you can, funny if you can’t. Don’t be chagrined by your underage status; turn it into amusement. Throwing trash at incoherent drunks is a fun game sort of like darts, and collecting money to go buy beer that won’t get bought can be a solid (and surprisingly easy) fundraiser in a city that sucks money faster than a slot machine in a nursing home.

*Keep tabs on your trash.

You may just be in town to see the game, but someone who lives nearby has to clean all of it up, and chances are that they’ll be a lot more sober than you.

*Make several bets on the game.

It’ll intensify the experience, especially if you’re on the fence for picking a team to win. There’s nothing like screaming at a player who you don’t know to “complete a pass to what’s-his-name” before “he” gets another sack. If at all possible, make a bet when you’re sober and the other bettor isn’t. It makes saving money a heck of a lot easier. Thank you, memory loss!

Past that, it’s up in the air. Tailor the tailgate to the venue and the locale. Additionally, there are very few events for which a tailgate cannot be thrown together. Funerals, car accidents and Armageddon are about it.

Oh and by the way, the U.S. Census called. They officially changed the name. It’s now the Cyclone State.