On paper, a championship victory rally should be the easiest thing in the world to turn into a tailgating extravaganza. After all, unlike a regular game, where a good chunk of the crowd wants your team dead, everybody at a victory parade is there to see one team ride floats down the street while Ultimate Dance Party 2000 blares over and over again. There’s no competition, no opposition, and everybody’s happy as can be.
Problem: there’s too many of you. Getting a good grill going is fine in the parking lot of Bland Corporate Name Stadium, but on Main Street with 3 million people milling about? Unless your goal is to launch an impromptu leg of the Burning Man Festival, you’d best leave the Weber at home.
Good luck drinking too, since virtually every team hires the local police force to keep the masses in line, and they’re very good at noticing booze smugglers. Even if your drink of choice resembles water, like vodka or Everclear, they’ll just wait until you start stumbling and bumbling to arrest your ass. Or in the case of Everclear, once you start loudly complaining of sudden blindness.
So what can you do for a good time at a victory rally? You could listen to everything we say, for one. Such as…
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5. Start Early
Let’s say the rally starts at 10 AM. If you actually think you can show up at 9:30 and get a good seat, you had better be living in a highrise right alongside the parade route. Otherwise, you’ll see about as much of the team as some primitive jungle tribe that’s never left the safety of the trees. Difference is, they don’t care, unless they get to eat the players afterwards. You, however, very much care, but now you’ve hosed yourself because you couldn’t wake up early.
If you’re from out of town, and plan to take part in something that invites millions of people to stand in the streets and cheer, you need at least a six-hour head start. Get up at 4 AM, grab a dozen or so coffees from the local 24-hour Kwik-E-mart, hit the train or bus station (driving there would be useless, and possibly illegal depending on how much of the city authorities block off) and take the first ride into town.
Also, if your goal is to party hard, this is your opportunity to do it. Nobody’s going to care if, at 4:30 in the morning, you’re tailgating at the train station and pounding back a gallon or two of Jungle Juice (the hobo chili of booze; whatever can fit in the bottle and get you drunk, goes into that bottle and gets you drunk. Yummers.)
Check out the Top 10 Tailgating Cocktails.
Photo Credit: Jason Iannone
4. Don’t Count on Finding Your Friends
Unlike a regular tailgate, you simply cannot count on your clique to remain a clique during a victory rally. Sure, in some cases, you can organize yourself and all your buddies at 4 AM, ride in together and manage to not get separated among the sea of millions. In that case, thumbs up to you and your awesome crew, and we hope you all get to high-five the MVP and dance to the latest Timberlake jam on his custom-made MVP float.
The rest of us, however, aren’t nearly as organized (and prefer Jay-Z anyway). Some people sleep in; some are awful at returning texts or calls; some are heathens who stop caring about the team at the very last second and still more see an ad for pumpkin spice coffee at the train station’s Dunkin’ Donuts, never to be seen again.
If fate splits you up, just roll with it. Find the nearest awesome seat and TAKE IT. Don’t move from that spot, even if you find your friends across the street. You can make obnoxious hand gestures at each other the whole time if you like. But giving up a great spot for maybe finding a good one near your friend is a worse gamble than betting $100,000 on a 7-2 off-suit, while Phil Ivey glares at you like you just strangled his cat.
If you don’t play poker and didn’t get that joke, just Google “Phil Ivey” and feel your soul wither in despair.
Check out the Top 10 Tailgating Crews.
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3. Make One-Day (or Longer) Friends with Whoever Is Around
So what do you do when your friends are lost in the crowd? Simple; make some new friends! Look around you, see the people you’re standing next to, introduce yourself, and go from there. Depending on the personalities involved, introductions may not even be necessary. As long as you both know why the other’s here (which even the worst detective on the planet could deduce), then establishing camaraderie is mere child’s play.
In a victory rally environment, making friends this way should be easy. After all, unlike in a bar or club, everybody’s guaranteed to be happy, and there’s no chance of standing next to a troll loudly supporting the team that lost. In fact, we’re pretty sure police are authorized to taze anyone who tries.
Even if you and your rally buddy never exchange names, and only co-exist long enough for the parade to end, it’ll be worth it. Tailgating is all about good times and friendship. But nobody said every friendship has to be life-long, like a 1000-page novel with twists turns, and a grandiose ending paying off years of incredible narration. Some of life’s most memorable moments are created by two people whose paths cross for a few hours one day, and then never again. Those friendships are like 100-word short stories, which can be just as fun to read and write as a sprawling epic tale. In some cases, even more so.
Check out the Top 10 Tailgating “Don’ts.”
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2. Create Your Own Fun Before the Athletes Show Up
As we mentioned before, traditional tailgating is just about impossible during a crowded victory rally, what with those damn cops and their “laws” and “handcuffs” and “pepper spray.” So the more adept you are at alternate forms of entertainment, the better. This especially comes in handy for the people who showed up three hours before the rally and need something to do. If somebody thought to bring a Frisbee or a beach ball, they’ll quickly become the life of the party. Even cops will play along, as long as nobody’s doing anything dumb like aiming for the eyes when chucking the Frisbee.
And then, naturally, there will be chants. Or at the very least, attempts at them. Most people are still waking up at that hour, and probably want to save their energy and voice for the real rally. But don’t let that stop you from trying to get a LET’S GO TEAM chant going. Just don’t actually say “team,” unless you want even the grinning mascot to stare like you’re a space alien from the planet Herpderp.
Chanting is a fun way to pass the time, especially once some yo-yo throws the Frisbee into the rapidly overflowing trash. And even if it proves futile, what else is there to do?
Check out the Top 10 Tailgate Drinking Games.
Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
1. Scavenge For Free Post-Parade Souvenirs
Three million people all there to cheer wildly for one team means cash money for vendors. Hats, T-shirts, balloons, pennants, teddy bears, beer glasses, posters and anything else that the logo fits on is available and heavily marked up for your purchasing pleasure. If you have the money, then go for it. Just don’t weep when you find the same crap at your local Sports Authority several weeks later for $15 cheaper.
For the rest of us, however, we don’t need to buy anything. Clothing is just clothing, but random crap found on the streets is forever. Flyers, confetti, the championship trophy (it could happen) – all of these can be yours absolutely free, if you’re willing to scavenge around a bit. And since you’re already there to have fun and create memorable moments, why not take a few minutes and create another one?
Now admittedly flyers and papers found on the ground aren’t going to be in pristine shape. It may not look perfect on your wall. There may be rips, tears and possibly the blood of the fallen. But there’s also character, uniqueness and a great story that you can’t tell simply by going to a kiosk and paying $50 for a hoodie.
There also may be a police investigation, if that is indeed blood. In that case: anyone know a good lawyer?
Check out Jason’s Diary of a Fantasy Football Loser series.
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