PB sent me the above message after I asked whether I should do a new "Tastes of Texas" following what I am now referring to as "The Pantsing in Provo." At first I was hesitant to write anything light-hearted this week after watching our proverbial Eden catch ablaze and Camelot fall to the ground, but, dammit, Peter is right. As a one, J. F. Manziel learned all too well this offseason, there ain't no party like a Longhorn party.
Well, that last statement might not be entirely true. Much has been written about the partying prowess of the guests we have venturing to The ATX this weekend. In fact, there are many who claim The Ole Miss Rebels have one of the most unique, quality tailgating experiences in all of college football. I didn't get the opportunity to experience The Grove last season, but I know many of you did and took in all the hospitality the
Cuddly Bears Rebels had to offer. Considering that, I thought engaging in an exercise of tailgating self reflection might be appropriate in order to let our friends from The Deep South know what to expect when they venture to the birthplace and final resting place of all that is cool.
If your tailgating habits fall into this category you are probably a new student on campus that has yet to meet any tailgating veterans and/or you have perfected the art of freeloading. You roam from tailgate site to tailgate site taking full advantage of your fellow Horn's hospitality. We Longhorns are a generous bunch, and are always happy to offer whatever food or drink we have available to any friendly guest, but be wary. If you haven't found a home after a while people may start to recognize you and question why you have never chipped in for supplies.
To our guests: feel free to fall into this category. Most Longhorn tailgaters are friendly as can be and will be happy to
bitch about the ruins of our once proud program visit with you about the evening's contest over an ice cold Shiner and a plate of brisket.
The Campus Camper
You probably hang out in the grass somewhere along San Jacinto Street in the shadow of the San Jac garage, or maybe set up shop as far west as the South Mall. The logistics of being in the middle of campus present their own set of challenges, so your tailgate is pretty low key. Some lawn chairs, an ice chest of beer, and maybe some washers. Extravagance is the least of your concerns, and you're simply there to take in the atmosphere of pre-game celebration.
The Student Organization
You fall into small category of Longhorns who probably don't enjoy outsiders rolling up to the tailgate. Your set-up is probably very solid with games, a decent array of food, and a keg or three. Yet, it's only for members and friends of members, and the rest of us inferior subjects can only admire from afar. While we can all understand your budgetary concerns are REALLY important to your treasurer, you go against the very spirit of tailgating. Enjoy your exclusive party. Your wristbands are really cool, by the way.
The Non-Alumni Super Fans
Y'all are usually mixed in among some student orgs along MLK in the parking lots across from campus. There's certainly nothing wrong with not graduating from UT; it's people like you that make our fanbase the size it is, and we thank you for your support. That said...wow. You REALLY love UT tailgating and go out of your way to show it. You probably have a pit big enough to service a BBQ joint, with a food spread that would feed a third world country. You don't have a keg, but rather a massive beer and liquor spread to service any and all tastes along with a television with for game of the day playing through the sound system provided by Bose.
Beautifully enough, you're also the most generous of the tailgaters. Anybody who comes within 6 feet of your set up has to be offered anything they could ever want, and you'll be sure they have it all while listening to you explain each and every aspect of your impressive digs. A Bud Light "Real Men of Genius" bit should have been written about you by now, and I truly salute you for your dedication.
The Random Group of Friends
This group is a rarer breed of tailgater because it involves finding a spot and financing the venture with broke college student money. Because of this, the extravagance of these tailgates varies from location to location, but what they lack for in supplies they make up for it with heart. No exclusivity, no pretentiousness. Just fun, food, drink, and UT football.
I'm proud to say my friends and I fell under this category when I was on the 40. If you ever walked across the grassy knoll between I-35, MLK and Red River from 2005 and 2009 you might remember us. We had the tractor tire swing, the inflatable pink flamingos, kegerators, couch, two TVs, dual grills, washers, horseshoes, and ladder golf...ok, so maybe there was a BIT of extravagance. Still, we were proud of what we threw together on a budget, and guests were always welcome and enjoyed their time.
The Wealthy Alumni
These tailgaters give a lot of money to the Longhorn Foundation, and because of that they're able to purchase a spot in the "C" lots right in the shadow of DKR. The extravagance varies from site to site, but there is usually good food and a few games to play. Most of the people in this group are friendly enough, especially to opposing fans, but if you are a student and try to venture over, there is quite the air of "you have to wait your turn."
The Stupid Wealthy Alumni
You know who I'm talking about. They have RVs outfitted solely for tailgating. They hire a local BBQ Pitmaster to cater the event and bring in a DJ to keep their guests entertained while they polish the gold, spinning rims on the RV (last part may have been an embellishment). Watching these people tailgate just makes you green with envy, and you hope that someday you'll be able to make the "F-you" money necessary to tailgate like this. Not that you would; you'd just know you could, and dammit life would be good.
In what category do y'all fit friends? What did I miss? What other things would you like to talk about to take our minds off the current state of affairs in Bellmont?
To our Ole Miss pals, I won't even try to compare our tailgating experience to what you have, but the food is great, the beer is cold, and the people are warm. It'll surely be a great day to be alive in Austin, Texas.