By Brian Cullen

Training season, jerks! Yes, that’s right. While Tailgate Fan has made something of a detour away from the NFL this offseason, the fact is we’re right around the corner from some good ol’ fashioned concussion-inducing fun and games. And right now, everyone is training. Everyone. Tom Brady is working on his latest haircut. Robert Griffin III is getting his leg injected full of black market narwhal tusk extract. (You heard it here first. Don’t feign ignorance when this comes out in four months). Joe Flacco is sitting in a plain room with white walls, quietly waiting and occasionally drinking broth. And Mark Sanchez is running into butts or showing off pictures of his butt — or, you know, something.

Point is, everyone’s training. And if you’re going to reach the pinnacle of the tailgating world, YOU NEED TO START TRAINING TOO! But don’t worry, Tailgate Fan is here to walk you through everything you need to get ready for the season.

Elephant Fruit Vegetable Buffet

Photo Credit: Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP/Getty Images

1. Start Eating Fruits and Veggies and Drinking Water

I know, this is super counterintuitive, but bear with me. If you saw our recent article on tailgating at Coney Island, you’ll note that we did a quick, dirty profile of professional eaters Joey Chestnut and Takeru Kobayashi. Now, you might have noticed that professional eaters are always SKINNY. This is because excess body fat actually pushes against your stomach, thereby making it harder for the stomach to expand. And, as illogical as it sounds, that means that, technically speaking, fat people can eat way less than skinny people.

Now, if you’re going to go tailgating this season, you’ll need to start working on the size of your stomach, but not your gut, if you feel me. So cram your gullet full of fruits, veggies and water. You’ll feel better, drop some weight and grow your stomach organ all at the same time. And once football season rolls around, you’ll have plenty of room for ribs, chicken, nachos, burgers and beer — OH YEAH THE BEER!

Cooler of Beer

Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

2. Start Drinking

Heavens, have you been reading this site the entire time while eschewing drinking? That’s pure silliness, man. Get a grip on yourself. Drinking is a fine thing, so long as it’s done in “moderation” (read: two drinks less than Lemmy Kilmister’s usual). But, much like juggling, Angry Birds and screaming at your dad, drinking is a thing that gets easier with practice. So start boozing now, if you haven’t been already. By late August, you’ll hopefully have built up enough tolerance to minimize pounding headaches, nausea and that unshakable shame that starts sinking in after age 25.

3. Commit an Escalating Series of Faux Pas at Work and at Home

You’re right around the corner from spending every weekend with fat dudes eating bratwurst. At some point, you’re going to disappoint someone — your significant other, your children, your boss — someone. But here’s the thing: if you’ve got a sparkling track record of exercise and paying your taxes and being there for little Johnny’s t-ball game, then people might be a tad disappointed if you show up reeking of plastic-bottle gin, nacho cheese, failure, sadness and port-o-potty squoo (I made that word up. What else would you call it?). BUT! If you’ve spent the last several weeks forgetting appointments and sleeping through recitals and generally just being a real salty SOB, then your mild tailgating transgressions will be forgivable. Sort of. Just don’t blame us when your entire family ends up in therapy complaining about how Russell Wilson meant more to you than them. Cost of being a fan, yo.

Worker Slacking Off

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

4. Perfect Those Recipes!

Burgers and brats are classics, but also a tad boring hmm? While you’ve still got time to do some trial runs, why not try something new? As a person who frequents a Notre Dame message board known as NDNation, here’s one of the more popular ones: Giggity Ribs. Although I’ve never tried ‘em myself, they’ve attained something of a legendary status amongst internet nerds and Golden Domers alike. Looking for even more variety? As it turns out, Tailgate Fan has a ton of handy recipes worth sampling.

5. Polish That Fanbulance!

If you’ve been following Tailgate Fan for awhile, you know that we’re a fan of tailgating vehicles. Now, the big question around tailgating vehicles has always been — what do these vehicles do during the offseason? Whether your battle jitney has spent the spring and summer doing charity work or merely living underneath a tarp, chances are you’ll need to warm the ol’ gal up. So break out the turtle wax, grab a fresh bottle of oil and listen to Whitesnake while you try to stave off middle age for another season.

Giants of Tailgating Fanbulance

Photo Credit: Brian Cullen

6. Oh Yeah, Don’t Forget Those Parking Passes

With all the training and prep work for the season, don’t forget the bread and butter of your tailgate: the season parking pass. Without it, well, you’ve got no place to tailgate. At that point, your only option is tailgating in front of the TV or at a movie or…

Hey. Actually that might not be so bad.

You guys, it’s hot and sticky and gross outside. And the joy of cooler temperatures and gridiron goodness are just around the corner. So join me, won’t you? Together, we’re about to dive in headfirst to yet another season of eating, drinking, grilling, partying and making fun of JaMarcus Russell. Heck, if we’re lucky, maybe I’ll get drunk and report in live again.

Check out Brian’s Tailgating Top 10s.

Stop in at the Man Cave Daily, where the women are hot and the beer is cold.


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