Tailgating: Or how I learned to stop worrying and love football

16 Oct

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Last Saturday night, I met up with a group of friends at the Washington Husky bar to watch the UW vs. UO football game. Over beers, my friends Patty and Grant started asking me if I wanted to go with them to the New York Giants game the next morning. They had asked me previously, but I absolutely could not afford it. But, it was getting down to crunch time, and no one had bought the tickets, so they offered to give them to me, so that they wouldn’t go to waste. It was too good a deal to turn down. So we drank through the crushing defeat of the Huskies and headed to the UCLA bar to meet up with our other Pac-12 friends and watch UCLA get crushed as well. All in all, we drunkenly stumbled out of the bar at 2AM. As I headed into the subway station, Grant called after me to remind me that we were all meeting at Penn Station at 9:30AM the next morning. Awesome.

I got home around three, and my alarm went off at 8AM. I head to Penn Station so that we can all catch the train to New Jersey together. This is when I learned that both New York football teams play in the same stadium, and that stadium is in New Jersey. Confusing, right? The train is full of Giants fans, so we know we’re headed in the right direction. Patty and I are sipping coffee, trying to numb the hangover, while everyone else on the train is doing jello shots and chugging beer…at 10AM.

Part of the package we had signed up for was a pre-game tailgating extravaganza. I was told there would be unlimited food and alcohol, but I was convinced that there was no way I’d be drinking that day. I definitely needed a burger or two for energy, but I had every intention of passing on the booze. Once we arrived at the stadium, we began the journey through the parking lot of MetLife Stadium toward section L8, where our tailgating party was. It was a world of which I have never seen before. People had campers, barbeques, Giants canopies, DJ booths, portable grills, seats, buffets. What?!?! How have I never partaken in this sort of thing before? People do this every week? Football fans are pretty legit.

We arrive at our section, and it’s incredible. I think I might have muttered the word “magical” a couple of times. There was a full bar, with coolers and coolers of beer, fifths of every alcohol imaginable. And food, oh God, so much food. Cheeseburgers, breakfast sandwiches, Buffalo chicken, pulled pork, meatballs, sauerkraut, hot dogs, perogies, steak sandwiches. The grills were running constantly. And there were waitresses walking around with trays of everything. You didn’t even have to leave your canopy if you didn’t want to.

Needless to say, I ate…and drank. I still can’t believe I was capable of imbibing even more beer, but it was just there, and Grant and Patty don’t let you say no to more drinks. It was cloudy and about 50 degrees and that parking lot. I had worn layers, but not nearly enough and was rather cold. When it started to rain, Patty and I were able to secure two large trash bags. We ripped holes in the top and wore them as make-shift ponchos. I felt a little silly, but oh so much warmer. A couple of people in our tailgating group reassured me that I was football-chic and a garbage bag is a sign of honor. A guy selling Giants hats was walking around, offering 2 for $15. Patty and I each bought a royal blue one to make our football outfits complete.

Giants Chic

We finally headed into the stadium to watch the game. The rain came and went, and Patty was very diligent about scolding me about when to take my bag off and put it on. I know the basics of football, and our seats weren’t too bad. I got really into the game, and lo and behold we won, by a lot. The Giants have a rookie punt returner (look at me with my football knowledge!) named David Wilson. Before this game, the only Giants player I knew of was Eli Manning. I only know who Eli Manning is because his name comes up a lot in the New York Times crossword and the Dunkin Donuts I frequent has a cardboard cutout of him holding a delicious breakfast sandwich. So I enter the stadium, hearing rows of people behind me screaming, “Wilsoooooooon!” a la “Castaway” with Tom Hanks. As I am fond of other Wilsons, he became my guy, and I cheered him on as much as I could.

“So, is it official? Are you a Giants fan now?” Patty asked me.
“Oh, definitely!” I easily responded.
“You know, ” my friend Gian piped in. “The Jets are really the New York underdog.”
I pondered this for a moment. I’ve followed underdogs my whole life. I’ve never experienced a winning rally with a winning team. I love me an underdog, and my long-standing love of the Seattle Mariners is my biggest defense against ever being called a bandwagon fan.
“No, I’ve put my time in. Nothing against the Jets, but I’m a Giants fan.”
“After all,” Patty added pointing to my new Giants hat. “You have made the financial investment.”

So, let’s go Giants…let’s go.

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3 Responses to “Tailgating: Or how I learned to stop worrying and love football”

  1. wiseone October 17, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    Great picture.

  2. Chrissy October 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    Reblogged this on Throw Like a Lady.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tourist Tuesday: A Salt and Battery « Chrissy's Blog - October 23, 2012

    […] feel that three days off can get a bit much. I’ve picked up my knitting, I’ve become a football fan, I’ve been reading and writing. But I also decided that I wanted to explore my city more. […]

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