There are few days during the year where a college kid gets woken up at 7AM with a smile on their face. But on home game days, the commonly-dreaded BEEP BEEP sounds is welcomed and the snooze button gets a day off.
Before the alarm can get to the end of its tune, the more-than-enthused Indiana University student has sprung up, out of the bunk bed, running down the hallway screaming, “TAILGATE!” Speakers on, turned all the way up, iPhone plugged in, the BUMP BUMP making your eardrums bounce back and forth.
When the eagerly awaited tailgating schedule is released, Hoosiers clear out those weekends in the fall when their football team gets to play at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana. While the football team may not have the best record, ending the 2011 season 1-11, the school spirit during the football season is no less than if we were headed to the BCS Championship. Attendance at the games may be low, but if the students’ attendance at tailgates was as good as their attendance in classes, Indiana’s average GPA would raise a noticeable amount.
So you want to tailgate like a Hoosier? Here are some of the essentials.
Apparel is key. The more ridiculous you look at the Indiana tailgates, the better. Candy stripe, cream and crimson overalls…a necessity. Throw a red polka dot bow tie on…even better. Guys, find a weaved vest from a resale store with patches of IU symbols on it (something your alumni grandma has had since college) and you’ll be the talk of the fields.
Speaking of the fields, the fenced off slice of heaven where no one is below the age of 18, no one is above the age of 22, and no one has a care in the world.
Make sure to wear your trash shoes. You know, the pair that has been smelling up your closet for the past six years but you just can’t seem to get rid of? The fields can be muddy, dusty, and filled with trash but that’s nothing your shoes haven’t seen before.
Tip number three: come hungry. You could be one of the lucky ones to fight your way to the front of the line where a hardworking fraternity pledge is grilling hot dogs. Or you could be one of the few that catches the Jimmy John’s man handing out free sandwiches. If you’re not, make sure have a list of everyone’s parents that came to tailgate that weekend. Leave the fields, go to the parking lot where all the parents are eagerly waiting, act charming, and the food will come your way.
Katie Coyle is a Journalism student at IU. She is originally from Hinsdale, IL, a western suburb of Chicago. She enjoys all kinds of photography, running or biking along Lake Michigan, sharing stories with friends, and of course, Hoosier tailgates.