Mosaic tries something new: Tailgating!

A throwback photograph from “the good old days,” circa 2014.

Managing Mosaic Editor

It seems like there are thousands of university students mingling around the parking lot, a place usually devoid of any life, except the one lone police officer who diligently checks each license plate for a parking pass. I jump through puddles, barely managing to escape a new lake that the rain created in front of the Fred Rust Ice Arena.

With the most disappointingly gross peach-flavored vodka that I could pack into my little hidden flask, I sip on the thumb in my mitten and hope people aren’t watching me cringe as the cough-syrup-flavored liquid slides down my throat. I chase it with Mountain Dew, which is the No. 1 soda to ensure the erasure of all previous tastes from your tongue.

There are definitely not as many students as I expect, probably because the ferocious winds and stormy weather sent others running, safe in their sweatshirts, laying in bed. Oh boy, I can’t wait to get back to my room and be oh-so-comfortable.

My friends and I balk at the priciness of The Barn, so we headed back to the little table setup that was created with a beautiful dispensary of some very potent sangria. My friend’s family is here, and they brought cupcakes, cheese cubes (my favorite!), hot dogs, chips and salsa and various other snacks. It’s basically a dream come true.

University students, families and Blue Hen football fans are wandering all around, playing games that were set up by some of the employees and chatting about “the good old days,” which I can only assume means back in the 70s when tailgating was much more popular and sports were the primary social gathering of the week.

Each family has its own stereo setup, so hundreds of different types of music are clashing against each other as we all scream, laugh and toss a football around as if we know what we’re doing. (Hey, how do you get the football to do that cool spinny thing?)

The atmosphere is simultaneously excited and calm, as old friends catch up with each other, kids run around and students sit on their butts, waiting for the game to start so they can pretend to pay attention for the first quarter and then run off to whatever Halloweekend dage they can find in this weather.

It’s definitely fun, meandering and listening to all these stories, eating food from tiny little grills and the anticipation of the game rubbing off on me like I was bathing in it.

Clearly, tons of memories are going to be made tonight. Every rainy moment is going to be remembered by these kids who have their faces scrunched up against the wind and the rain. I actually look very similar to these children in my thermal, three sweaters and scant amount of socks.

The best moment of the afternoon came from a family who was more than willing to share their hot apple cider with a couple of tipsy, leaning-over college girls. Thanks a lot, Ryan’s dad from North Jersey. And it wasn’t even spiked.

While I went out this morning expecting to hate every second of the tailgate, with the cold and lots of students bailing on the festivities, I really enjoyed wandering around and experiencing one of the most memorable pastimes of college students. (Or maybe it was just the alcohol speaking.)

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