Where I Come From: Tailgating Traditions

This post is sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 2011.

New Jersey's all about strict class obsession, and in no case is that more evident than when it comes to tailgating Rutgers Stadium. Sure, you can park in downtown New Brunswick and take the bus, or at Johnson Park, or at the church on River Road. The status-conscious New Jerseyan though, grilling gear in tow, instead will have to brave gameday traffic on River Road and Route 18. That's in addition to ponying up for a parking pass in one of thirteen color-themed lots around the Busch and Livingston campuses in Piscataway for the privilege of waking up early on a Saturday for an excuse to drink and grill (not necessarily in that order).

There's a further layer of complexity to the process. The Orange lot around the Rutgers Athletic Center is primarily used by visiting opposing fans, and Pink is just a fancy name for parts of the College Avenue campus in New Brunswick. The real action is around Rutgers Stadium. The closest lot just west of the stadium is the Scarlet lot, which is largely reserved for longtime donors and supporters of the program who have accumulated immense quantities of priority points. It's more of an older crowd, where you'll see most of the more elaborate grilling equipment, and the media truck and media will call (they all apparently park in the Green lot, which I'm not too familiar with).

The Brown and White lots directly to the east of the stadium have a reputation similar to the Scarlet. It's not quite as moneyed and debonair, but definitely more of the stocky, "down in front" sorts that abhor any loud cheering or standing during games. Hey, I kid because I love. If only every season ticket holder had the means and ambition to join this set. Historically, the vagrants and ne'er do wells looking for entertainment spent their game days at the Yellow, Purple, Tan, and especially Blue lots, the latter long used as the young alumni lot.

As Rutgers Stadium attendance grew rapidly over the past decade, a lot of these past stereotypes arguably don't ring true anymore (warning: this is hotly debated, and I'll probably get yelled at for taking any side at all). A common complaint nowadays is that with so many more fans going to games, the old Yellow/Purple/Blue lots have effectively gentrified, with their old crowds pushed far back to the Black and Silver lots. Those are closer to the Busch Campus Center, and are on actual campus gravel parking as opposed to the athletic fields grass east of the stadium. Any sojourners in search of frisbees and beer pong may need to prepare for a longer walk.

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