Many of you associate tailgate season with hazy late summer days that are spiked with sugary-sweet cocktails and dainty sundresses that match your school’s colors. That’s not a wrong image, per se, except not every school is a football school. Some colleges reveal their insanity during basketball season. For them, tailgating conjures a slightly different image: one filled with icicle daggers, shapeless feather-down parkas, and the hardest fucking liquor you can find.
Basketball season, as you may know (or if you’re like me prior to attending college, you may not) occurs in the winter — and winter tailgates are a force to be reckoned with. Winter tailgates turn you into a true American with the soul of a rough and tumble pioneer. Winter tailgates allow you to briefly flirt with the idea that you could hold your own against Bear Grylls. Winter tailgates are a matter of life and death.
Why is that, you ask? Because winter tailgates are dangerous as shit. You’re surrounded by snow, ice, and a variety of flammable liquids. But the most extreme danger of all lies in the fact that you will undoubtedly make an ass of yourself at some point. That’s 100 percent guaranteed. Especially in front of those cute guys in Kappa Sig.
In order to stay outside in the freezing cold for longer than twenty minutes, you will have to drink. A lot. Whiskey, probably. Fireball, definitely. And the champagne provided on the bus by your sorority earlier? Just the warmup. Not that you don’t drink like that every now and then (read: most weekends) or anything, but cold weather produces this interesting cycle of events:
“It’s cold as fuck.”
“But if I drink a lot, I’ll be warmer.”
“Fuck, I’m still kinda cold.”
“Buuuut, if I drink even more, then I’ll be even warmer!”
And so on and so forth. You drink fast and you drink furious. Your gloves aren’t doing shit at this point and your feet have gone numb from the freezing asphalt. Although, maybe if Caroline had actually gotten her shit together and brought those hand-warmers like she said she would, you wouldn’t be in this situation right now. COME ON, CAROLINE.
Now you’re about two hours in and those snow mounds over there look like tiny baby Mount Everests just begging to be climbed. “I’m the queen of the wooooorld!” you shout once you reach the top. Except no, you’re just an asshole who’s knee-deep in nearly black sludge. You proceed to roll down the mound, pants be damned.
Three to four hours in and you’ve drunk so much that the idea of not breaking the seal seems like an elaborate urban legend. Unfortunately, the lines for the porta-potties are incredibly long. So, you decide to just go pee in the snow behind some cars, because nothing screams “subtle” quite like pee in snow.
Five hours in, there’s a drinking game. For reasons you’ve never understood while sober, running, jumping, and/or piggyback rides are involved. You slip and fall on ice during it. There’s some bleeding.
“Wow,” you slur to yourself. “My blood is so warm!”
At some point, the actual game will start. (You remember the game, right? It’s the whole reason you braved this godforsaken tundra in the first place.) But, hey, you came here to party, suckaaaas! So instead of even going to watch the game, you will trek to the bar inside the stadium. Unbeknownst to you, there will be shots. Later in the evening, you may or may not get kicked out of the arena, fall asleep on the bus, and then vomit out a side window. Fifty/fifty odds, honestly.
But, hey — at least you’re not cold anymore..