Mind manners at the tailgate

Published on September 10th, 2013 | by Lauren M.G. Burt

Some mark the autumn season by bringing out the classic trench coat, grabbing a pumpkin spice latte or reminiscing about our school days, but for college football fans, the start of the football season is the true beginning of fall.

Whether you’re watching your favorite team at the stadium, catching the game over libations at a local establishment or heading to a watch party, be sure to pack these tailgating tips with your six-pack and seven-layer dip. Lastly, don’t forget to bring sportsmanship which should last from pre-party kickoff to the end of the fourth quarter.

Hospitality: If you’re invited to a tailgate or watch party, be sure to take beverages and food to share. The best game day food appeals to a large audience and should be able to sit out for a while without getting cold or needing refrigeration. A slow-cooker can be a game day essential for many get togethers. Check with the party host on number of guests for quantity so you bring enough for all.

Alumni relations: Many people are very passionate about their alma mater so college football games bring out all ages and types of people to support their team. Whether you’re at a bar, stadium or party, be aware that you are making impressions with past professors, university board members or corporate executives that are heavily involved with the school. Everyone is there to have fun and cheer on the team, but keep in mind that these people could lead to new personal connections and even job opportunities.

Game plan: Football games are a must-do each fall and bring big crowds. Plan ahead by booking hotel rooms, restaurant reservations and tailgating spots in advance. Most people reserve their tailgating spots months, even years, in advance. Remember that under no circumstances is it OK to steal someone’s parking spot if another car is patiently waiting. If you want a prime spot and the optimal game day experience, plan in advance and get there early.

Flag on the field: If you start the day wearing your favorite team colors, you don’t want to end it wearing orange (as in, the jumpsuit). Game day drinking mixed with strong sports rivalries breeds strong emotions and unnecessary situations. Team pride is great fun but that fun ends quickly when the yelling and fists come out. There is no winning team when a fight ensues.


About the Author

Lauren M.G. Burt is an avid collector of etiquette books. She is the 2012 Juice Young Professional of the Year, past president of the Junior League of Des Moines and an anthropologist of modern day manners.Email your modern-day etiquette questions to Lauren M.G. Burt at etiquette@dmJuice.com. You may see your query answered in the next column.

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