Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tailgating Time

If you were raised in the south, Friday night lights and SEC games are the norm. Of course, you have to decide if you are an Alabama or Auburn fan at birth. Yes, crazy as it seems, this state has some pretty diehard fans.

College football rules the south on Saturdays. We can’t forget our Friday night high school games. But, it can’t compete with college football and tailgating. Tailgating involves sharing deep fried fish, ribs, hamburgers, and hot dogs with old friends and making new ones.

Since all things have a beginning, it is believed that the first tailgating was held in 1861 at the Battle of Bull Run during the Civil War. Of course, they weren’t playing football, but in fact cheering for soilders in blue or gray.

Charles Goodnight in 1866 after the Battle of Bull Run is credited with taking a U.S. Army wagon and transforming it into a portable feed wagon. Since cowboys were always on a range, Goodnight created the chuck wagon. It was named after a cheaper cut of beef. This was the beginning of portable cooking on wheels for the ranching industry. The chuck wagon setup is reminiscent of today’s setup for tailgating.

It wasn’t until 1869 that the tailgating centered around a sporting event between Princeton and Rutgers at an intercollegiate football game. The game was more like today’s version of rugby, which consisted of 25 players, playing three different positions. Each team would have two men that would hide in the back field, waiting to score, while 11 other men operated as defenders, the remaining 12 were called bulldogs.

So, at your next tailgate party, don’t forget to have a few essentials to make this a great outing: folding tables, garbage bags, ice cooler, beverage of choice, canopy, grill, food, and chairs. Get some great tailgating tips from these books available in the library system.

Felita Hawkins
East Lake Library
Southern Region Coordinator

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