Locals and students alike flock to the football field almost every weekend throughout the fall, all for one well known “secret”. McDaniel College was ranked 6th nationally regarding tailgating for football games in a competition several years ago (October 6th, 2011). On top of that, McDaniel managed to be the only Division three school to make the list.
Being a non-athlete at a school whose population contains a high number of student athletes doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t get involved. Non-athletes, off-season athletes, locals, and alumni crowd the hill overlooking the field several times throughout the fall semester to cheer on their team.
Tailgating at the drive-in field has become something of a legacy here at McDaniel. Fans line the paint-ridden hill sporting all kinds of crazy outfits and spirit wear to show support for their friends. Fraternities, sororities, and parents all bring out grills, couches, and tents for comfortable tailgating arrangements. The college plans games and competitions to keep the student organizations involved and promote safe tailgating habits. President Casey even hosts indoor events where students can comfortably watch the games once it gets to be too cold outside.
My first time tailgating I didn’t know what to expect. I heard stories and saw pictures, but there was no other way to describe the energy one felt unless they experience it themselves. It was close to 10:00 AM and my cousin, a junior, called me to tell me that we were going to the football game.
As we crossed camps towards the field, the roar of the fans grew louder and louder, filling the air with a strange kind of excitement. We made our way over to the student section where I finally became a part of the action.
Students were everywhere, dressed in school colors and cheering on their team. They were almost over ecstatic to be supporting their team for the first home game of the season. Every time there was a completed pass, the energy seemed to amplify, and when McDaniel scored, they seemed to go wild. Despite the fact that McDaniel rarely won, students never gave up supporting the team. Every single home game, students were out there cheering on their friends and classmates, encouraging them to play that much harder. It truly is an impressive thing to see.
Whether you are a sports fan or not, I highly recommend you come to at least one game. As I said before, this is something that needs to be experienced firsthand. Many students cherish their time on the hill and remember this as a lasting memory of McDaniel College.