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30 Reasons for 30 Days - Day 2: Because of the Tailgating

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October 2015 in the Black Lot

Since August 5, I have been posting a daily reason why it is great to be a fan of Rutgers football. There are a lot more than thirty, but I picked my thirty reasons, and hope you have liked them.

We are almost at the end, and I saved one of my favorite parts of college football for the end, and that is tailgating. I am a die-hard fan of it, but mostly at the college level, not in the pro sports. College tailgating is primarily about collegiality, fun, and camaraderie. Fans of the opposing teams most often are greeted warmly, invited to join, and participate in the fun. Anyone who has been a Giant fan tailgating at the Link in Philly, or Eagles fan tailgating at MetLife Stadium in Eaast Rutherford does not have that same experience, to be sure.

However, let’s get more specific, and by that I mean Rutgers tailgating. Rutgers has an under publicized but wonderful tailgating scene.

Justin Rivera enjoying a burger
Photo Courtesy of Roberto Rivera

It starts very early for some. As an example, I’ll start by talking about Old Queens Island, or OQI. I have written about OQI previously, when I wrote for another site, but they are still going strong, and are one of the stalwarts of the Scarlet Lot each week. Rain or shine, no matter what time kickoff is scheduled, the crew at OQI are there between 2:00 AM and 4:00 AM beginning their vigil leading up to kickoff.

OQI before sunrise
Photo courtesy of Marc Kollar

However, each lot has dozens of groups that are just as loyal, just as much fun, and just as fan-atical about their tailgates. They gather on social media, and plan to meet at games. Several cars will park together and have a large group together. Who attends? The age range is 8 months to in their 80s. Tailgating has no age limit at either end. Here’s some examples:

The Chandelier Knights! Lynda, Judy, Jeannie, Wally & Bob
Photo by Paul
Hugo Reyes distributing programs
Photo Courtesy of Jairo Paredes
Photo Courtesy or Eric J Browne
Photo Courtesy of Phil Prasek
Photo Courtesy of Scott Bourne

However, don’t think that tailgates only happen when the weather is nice. I’m sure you all remember the game against West Virginia in the snow where Eric LeGrand led the team onto the field. It even made the cover of Sports Illustrated.

Photo courtesy of Karen Clark Miller

Well, it was just as snowy outside the stadium, but it did not stop the tailgaters from showing up!

Photo Courtesy of Eric J Browne

Youngsters are also involved in the tailgate scene:

Gavin Maguire and friend who is wearing 70’s vintage Rutgers helmet
Photo by Dale Sipos
Justice, Mia, Jake and Tyler enjoying the tailgate
Photo Courtesy of Michael Stapleton

Tailgates are also the haunt of former players as well. Here are three former players in a couple of pictures.

Christopher Grant with former players Dale Sipos (‘72-’73) and Eric LeGrand (“08-’10) last season
Photo Courtesy of Dale Sipos
Former Scarlet Knight Marco Battaglia (‘92-‘95) at tailgate
Photo Courtesy of Jairo Paredes

It goes beyond social media, however. Here’s a brief video that was broadcast on Headline News last year about the Rutgers tailgate scene.

I’d like to finish up with a great video from a couple of years ago about what tailgating means to the fans who participate.

So, today’s reason why it is great to be a fan of Rutgers football is the tailgating scene. Do yourself a favor this season. If you’ve never partaken, stop by. You’ll be welcomed, and once you do, you’ll be hooked too!