Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Adventures in Tailgating

Wow! My trip to visit my cousin Kelly in Green Bay was just what the doctor ordered. Four days of fun, wine, Mike's hard, Bacardi Breezers, jello shots (in orange peels like orange wedges!) and beer - though I personally skipped that particular Milwaukee export. Mind you, I made up for it eating cheese. Holeeeeee. It's true that Wisconsinites love cheese!

However, I was a "good girl" and didn't get drunk once. Except for game day, nobody even cracked a drink before 5 pm. Very sensible!!

Game Day however? Totally different story! The Green Bay Packers were playing the San Francisco 49ers in the opening game and, naturally, tailgating was going to be a big part of it.

Some of you may know that I'm Canadian. Here's a list of things that Canadians are really missing that Americans have in spades: Disneyland, regular election dates - and tailgating! Wow. People couldn't believe it when I told them tailgating is not only not done in Canada, it's illegal. (Maybe it's actually illegal to have that much fun. We don't have enough confidence to enjoy ourselves that much!)

It seems bizarre to me that a nation of hard drinkers (19% of us admit to being "heavy drinkers" according to Statistics Canada) that we haven't figured out a way to incorporate tailgating into our sports life. Possibly it doesn't make sense: hockey is our big sport and it usually takes place during ch-ch-chilly winter months, so rather than freeze our asses off outside our SUVs and pickup trucks in a parking lot before the game, we just plunk ourselves in front of the TV and do it in the warmth and comfort of our own homes. Much closer to the bedroom when the game's over and no worries about drunk driving, either.

Having said that, are we missing out on some seriously organized fun. I couldn't believe the amount of effort, time, money, creativity and plain old energy that goes into a good tailgate. My cousin was so busy chopping, shopping, packing up the van and making sure we all had our Packers gear that she was just a blur of blond hair and green-and-gold team colors. Six of us were decked out in jerseys, ball caps, T-shirts, jackets - the ladies even had Packer earrings! Despite the fact I was an NFL "virgin" (nice to feel like a virgin at something again!), I totally looked the part.

But it wasn't just the fans who dressed to show their support. At Lambeau Field in Parking Lot #1, I even saw two huge bulldogs dressed in Packer gear. I'll have to learn how to attach photos to give you your quotient of bizarre/scary/cuteness for the day.

Once everything got underway and we'd set up our own table and hotpot of bratwursts, I got escorted by Kelly's daughter and her BFF around the lot to see all the escapades. Tables, tents, flags, lawn chairs, bar stools, coolers, cars - even an old Brinks truck - decked out in Packer gear. There were bands walking around and big speakers blaring"P-P-Packer Face" to the tune of Lady Gaga's Poker Face. Not to mention grilling, eating, laughing, talking - and drinking. It was amaaaazing fun.

The stadium itself was spectacular. So bright and colorful and vibrant in the warm sunshine. Unfortunately, the boys didn't play as well as the fans would've liked and the game ended in a loss to the 49ers. Everyone dragged their asses back to their cars and many of us waited until traffic died down to indulge a little more in the parking lot. Superfun!

Fortunately (though it feels unfortunate right now), today's the first of two back-to-back cleanse days. Not feelin' it, but ... it's the plan!!)

Thanks to everyone in Green Bay for being so wonderful to me! I had a blast! Go all ye tailgaters! Have a happy 2012-13 NFL season!

Source: "N.W.T. Has Highest Binge Drinking Rate"