A lot of folks’ favorite season will soon be upon us. The leaves change to brilliant hues, men spray doe scent on themselves and sit in a tree for hours and a whole army of tailgaters invade the perimeters of football stadiums throughout this great land of ours. There is an art to tailgating, and my family and friends are grand masters. We’ve tailgated at high school football games, the bus races at Spartan Speedway and we even threatened to tailgate at my nephew’s wedding a few years back. We’re not alone in our passion for this autumn ritual. We are surrounded by the same group of folks most every week on the Michigan State University (MSU) campus. Last year I brought along a small boom box to have some tailgate tunes playing in the background. I didn’t need to bring that as the guy next to us pulls out a couple of 3-foot-tall speakers, a receiver and generator and cranked up his tunes. I was at a Ted Nugent concert back in the ‘70s that wasn’t that loud! So last year the usual suspects were gathered for the Wisconsin game. You have people everywhere, and I mean everywhere. There is not any more room for anyone to squeeze themselves in; at least that is what I thought. Here come two couples each carrying an armful of supplies — graduates from the ‘50s or ‘60s. How do I say, more wine and cheese than beer and Cheetos. Well they unpack their wicker baskets and their table that sits four. I was wondering if a polo match was going to break out. Well after they had their dining table set the woman heads over to talk to Ted Nugent about turning down his music so they can enjoy their repast without 50 Cent screaming obscenities at them. Mind you, she had to make her way hrough a group of adults doing an Octobong (for those unfamiliar with this drinking apparatus, close your eyes and imagine eight people simultaneously drink a beer, say, in two seconds). See she’s not walking into a group of “Phi Kappas” here, and when she reaches Ted the expression on his face to her request is … priceless. Nevertheless in the spirit of being a fellow Spartan he turns the music down a little. I go back to my friends and forget about this little incident until I turn around and see Ms. Stuffypants standing on her table dancing to Katy Perry with Ted’s wife! Now that’s what I call the art of tailgating!
Pete Ruffing is the Sales Director at M3 Group in downtown Lansing. He and his wife of 14 years Brenda live in Okemos.