Dear Tailgate Season,
I heard amazing things about you before I stepped on the University of Michigan campus this fall. Every person, not student but person, I had ever talked to about Ann Arbor had told me that you were the best part of the year. They told me that although you have to wake up at an unreasonably early hour of the day for a college student, it is completely worth it. No matter how late you were up the night before, the festivities of the early morning are the best days of your life.
All of the wonderful things I heard about you did not disappoint.
I very clearly remember the day you started. I woke up at seven in the morning. My good friend, who grew up in a Big 10 family and had tailgated many times before, dragged me out of bed and told me it would be worth it. I searched through my closet for an appropriate maize and blue colored outfit and stickered a big yellow M on my cheek. We went to the dining hall for a quick breakfast and walked outside to a world the likes of which I had never seen before.
There was so much energy in the air. Everyone around had these huge smiles on their faces. People were dancing in the streets. I had never seen so much maize and blue in my entire life.
Like all other lost freshman, my friends and I explored the streets. After much experimentation and conversations with some very nice and drunk upperclassmen, we found the tailgates that we really liked.
While it took us quite some time to find our spot, once you find the right tailgate you are in heaven. People dance on raised platforms singing at the top of their lungs. The sense of comradery is like nothing you have ever seen. Everyone in the whole town comes together for this one day of the week and acts like a family.
Sometimes I would make it to the actual football game, sometimes I would not. Being a freshman, my seats were horrible. Did it really matter anyway? Nah.
I met one of my best friends at a tailgate. I was at my sorority designated tailgate and mutual friends introduced us. We all decided to go to the game together and on our way to the game we decided we were too tired to go. Luckily my new friend’s dorm was nearby so we opted for a power nap with the goal of trying to get to the game in the third quarter. Four of us crashed in a Twin XL bed and two hours later we’d completely forgotten about the game but were forever bonded.
Thank you for the best five days of my life. I am already counting down the days until our reunion next fall.