Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tailgating Culture

Tailgating at Clemson
When Stephanie, of one of my absolute new favorite blogs Newlyweds: North, announced this link-up, I knew I had to participate.  Even though I've never done a link-up. Even though my home computer has decided it can't turn on. (I'm currently writing this in safe mode so we'll see what happens.) The only real issue was what in heaven's name would I write about for just ONE post.  See here's the thing.  I am a sports fan as previously noted.  I looove college football.  I love more than one Division I college football team.  Do I write about one of the schools?  Do I post recipes?  Do I reminisce about some legendary games?  Do I just do a photo dump?  Do I post about my favorite tailgating traditions?  Well maybe I'll eventually do all of these.  However, today I'm going to talk about tailgating culture.

I became a college football fan in the great state of Indiana with the greatest conference there is. (Nothing you can say will change my mind about that so don't even try SEC fans. It's Big Ten all the way.)  Here's the thing though.  The Midwest is laid back.  It's a meat and potatoes region of the country.  I should probably say a meat and potatoes and corn region really.  In fashion that translates as t-shirts or sweatshirts, tennis shoes or flip-flops, and jeans.  In my 4 (very fine--thanks Drew Brees) years at Purdue in which I attended every home football game, I don't think that uniform varied.  We did start wearing khaki or jean skirts during the ridiculous hot first games, but that's it.  I never thought twice about it. If it said Purdue or was black/gold, it went.  Here's the other thing.  About mid-October in the Midwest, it starts to get cold.  Very cold.  Cute dresses even with boots will not cut it.  They just won't.  Not that the idea ever crossed our minds at the time, but if it did, we would have been nuts to try.  Take a look at this gem and see my proof:

This is my friend Deepti and me at the Purdue/IU game our sophomore year.  We are wearing ski coats, ski hats, and anything we can find over our mouths.  (Mine was the Drew Brees towels they passed out.)  The ONLY reason we stayed through that whole game was because once we won, we secured our berth to the granddaddy of them all, the Rose Bowl.  But this post isn't about legendary games. :)  If I had worn a dress, I would have been in the hospital.

Flash forward a few years later.  I moved to the South.  Clemson, South Carolina to be exact.  I brought my love of college football with me, and it could not have been brought to a better place.  Clemson is a FOOTBALL TOWN. It did not take long for some orange to seep into my blood.  However, I had culture shock.  The first time I visited Ben to go to a game, girls were wearing dresses (cute, orange ones) and HEELS.  I still have trouble with the heels thing.  How could you stand in heels through an entire game?  How could you tailgate in grass in heels?  The truth is that I still don't know.  I didn't think I would ever fit in.  However, after 5 years of living there, tailgating, and attending games, the dresses grew on me.  Girls looked cute AND were spirited.  I stopped really seeing heels.  Cute sandals and boots ruled the day.  It doesn't get super cold so boots and long sleeves were enough for later games.  The culture of football in the South is just different.  It is one that to a certain extent I adore.  Everything on Saturday revolves around the game.  There is nothing like seeing the sea of orange in Death Valley with the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance.  There is so much excitement when the players get off the bus to run down the hill.  At that point, t-shirt or dress doesn't matter.  It's the game that does.

Last year I moved to Missouri, a Midwestern school that joined a southern league.  I only attended one game last year, but I saw a mix.  I think the culture here has been more of the laid-back, casual one that I was used to in college, but I think there was also some pressure to adopt some of the southern, dressier football culture. It's interesting, and I'm looking forward to seeing how that culture develops here.  In the end though, cute dresses in school colors or jeans and t-shirts bearing your school's name, as long as you enjoy the day and support your school, the fashion works. 

I'm going to try to do one recipe post tomorrow too, but we'll see. Thanks for a link-up on one of my favorite topics Stephanie!  Now for the photo dump.

Sea of orange

In the south, you can watch the game from the tailgate.

Watching the game from a tree--he's a Forestry professor so what can you do.



  1. Loooooove it! And super love the Northern turned Southern Tiger perspective! Will yall be at the game on Sat? We will! Lot 2...come see me!! xoxoxo

  2. I've lived in the South all my life so I don't know any different with tailgating but my SIL went to Michigan and laughs at what the girls wear to games here! She said jeans and a t shirt was their uniform and no one would be caught dead wearing a dress! It's funny to hear the different customs each region of the US does! And we have watched many games tailgating if we didnt have tickets!

  3. Yay for another Big Ten fan! I have never been to a football game in the South - I want to go and wear a cute dress! So funny that Mizzou is a mix, I am from Iowa and have family in Missouri and we argue about whether it's the south or not, I say it depends ;)

    1. True! If you're down by Arkansas, you might be able to consider it the south. I say it's the Midwest. Go Big Ten regardless! :)

  4. I have only ONCE been to a college football game - and it was the morning after my 22nd birthday so I was near death's door and spent most of it curled up in the car trying not to be sick. This culture is so foreign to me but it sounds like so much fun! I need to try again :)