So far in this series, I've talked about the food, the drink, the equipment and the culture of tailgating. Today, I'll wrap it up (Wrap that gavel up, B!) with a short piece on the experience of tailgating.
It's pretty simple, actually. Tailgating is just an extension of the party, from the house to the parking lot, from a couple people getting together to most alumni that can get to the game. Take today's incarnation of the Iron Bowl. That game has already started. No, no, don't flip the TV over to CBS yet; it hasn't kicked off. But the game already started. The same way the Super Bowl starts before kick off. It's already started because the fans, the students and the alumni are already in full Iron mode.
When Jay at Track Em Tigers, the SBN community for Auburn, opens a post by saying, "I've always thought Heaven is a lot like Iron Bowl week," you get the idea. When no less than the Gray Lady makes an effort to admit that there are sports outside of New York, you get the idea.
Tailgating isn't about the game itself. It's what the game represents - a manifestation that proves I/we are better than you/yall. When the Rams play the Seahawks, it's not just the players and coaches who have a stake in the game. It's a statement on the essence of both teams, the character they represent. And all tailgating does is extend that statement out to revel in each group's own self-aggrandizement for just a little bit longer.
So go ahead and take some time to do that today, in the aftermath of my favorite day of the year. Eat and drink with the same zeal you did yesterday. Admit you are who you are. Take some pride in the "families" you're a part of. And live like you're tailgating whether there's a game or not.